Plans announced for extension Dutch offshore wind farm permits

Eneco Luchterduinen © MHI Vestas Offshore Wind AS

In a letter to the Dutch Parliament, minister Wiebes (Economic Affairs and Climate Policy) expressed his wish to extend the permit duration for yet to be tendered offshore wind farms in the Dutch North Sea from 30 to 40 years. The extension should contribute to making offshore wind interesting and viable in the future also.

The letter was sent yesterday. A letter of amendment to the Offshore Wind Energy Act (Wet Windenergie op Zee) will be presented before this summer to enable the permit extension.

The development of offshore wind farms plays an important role in the current Dutch climate and energy policy. The target is set for 11.5 GW of installed offshore wind capacity by 2030. A recent report by research company Afry on the long-term viability of offshore wind concluded that there is, however, a material risk the Netherlands does not meet this target at zero-subsidy under the current market environment.

A strong business case is an absolute precondition to keep up the momentum in the further development of offshore wind farms and to fully exploite the potential of offshore wind for the Dutch energy system and economy, Wiebes states. Extending the permit duration will provide developers with a longer garanteed power supply and more time to get a return on their investment.

Possible extension for existing permits
The bill also includes the possibility for wind farm owners to request for an extension to their existing permit after approximately 20 years. The Ministry will explore the possibilities with offshore grid operator TenneT to already take this extension into account for existing or currently built offshore wind grid connections. Provided they can take place in a cost efficient way.

Business case for offshore wind in a wider perspective
To ensure a viable business case for the development of future offshore wind farms, the Ministry is also exploring other options, such as synergy with the upscaling of hydrogen production and the role for offshore wind in the sustainability and electrification of large industiral clusters. At the moment there is research in these areas ungoing. Wiebes has the intention to provide a better view on this before the summer.