The Hollandse Kust (west) Wind Farm Zone – HKWWFZ – is located more than 50 km off the Dutch coast near IJmuiden. The wind farm has a capacity of 756 MW and consists of 54 wind turbines. These will produce enough electricity each year to meet approximately 3% of the Dutch electricity demand – approximately equal to the consumption of one million households. The wind farm will be realised without subsidy.
New to the tenders for the HKWWFZ is that the parties were asked to make a financial offer. Together with the costs for the environmental impact assessments and location studies that are being paid by Ecowende, this yields about €63.5 million. That amount is used to ensure wind farms are designed with due care to the environment and other activities in the North Sea.
Minister for Climate and Energy Policy, Rob Jetten, said, “The plan presented by Ecowende shows what we can do to design wind farms that work with nature. They can go well together. And that is necessary because there will need to be many more offshore wind farms to be able to supply sufficient green energy. With 40 innovative experiments and applications in this proposal, we are starting a movement to build offshore wind farms with minimal impact on nature.”
Wael Sawan, Director of Integrated Gas, Renewables and Energy Solutions at Shell, said,"With Ecowende, we will take a huge step in growing our offshore wind portfolio while making a positive contribution to biodiversity.
"Through this project we can profitably accelerate the large-scale roll-out of offshore wind in the Netherlands and beyond. This fits well with Shell's Powering Progress strategy to deliver more and cleaner energy to our customers, at home, on the road and at work."
Kees-Jan Rameau, Chief Strategic Growth Officer at Eneco, said, "Together with Shell, we were at the forefront of the development of offshore wind in the Netherlands. We gained a lot of knowledge, also in the area of ecology, and reported on this. This has contributed to the further development of offshore wind in recent years. It is great that we are now moving into a new phase with Ecowende, with nature as the starting point. This is entirely in line with our ambition to live and act within the natural limits of the planet."
Combined, all the offshore wind farms planned in the Dutch North Sea will meet around 75% of the Netherlands' electricity needs around 2030. This year, the Government raised the ambition for offshore wind to approximately 21 GW by around 2030.
Currently, approximately 2.5 GW of offshore wind has been fully commissioned in the Netherlands and a number of wind farms are under construction or licensed. The Offshore Wind Energy Roadmap 2030 outlines how and when the designated wind farm zones will be developed for the period 2024 – 2031.
The Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) and an independent expert committee assessed the applications received.
Minimal impact on nature
The guiding principle in design and construction is to have as little impact as possible on birds, bats and underwater marine life. This includes:
Ecowende aims to set a new ecological benchmark for the development and construction of wind farms in the North Sea and to enable offshore wind farms to have a net positive impact on nature in the future. This is important because there are major ambitions for offshore wind. Acceleration is needed in a way that contributes to nature both above and below the water. More details on the investments, innovations and research programmes will be announced at a later stage.