Netherlands - Big onshore projects with large turbines on horizon

THE NETHERLANDS: Prospects for the Dutch wind-energy market are mixed. While offshore wind is no longer a government priority, construction is due to start this year on two 300MW projects led by Typhoon Offshore.

Another 129-150MW offshore project by Dutch utility Eneco is due to be built in 2013-14. It will test innovative technology solutions using either 43 3MW Vestas V112 turbines, or 36 V112 and seven 6MW turbines.

Onshore, the focus is on projects of 100MW and above. The 450MW Windpark Noordoostpolder will comprise 38 Enercon E-126 turbines of 7.5MW and possibly 48 Siemens turbines of 3-3.6MW in adjoining shallow water. Planned construction should start later this year, depending on the outcome of a high-court ruling.

Elsewhere, one 7.5MW Enercon and two 6.15MW Repower turbines are due to be installed at different locations. Larger turbine sizes are also a clear favourite for at least two other future large-scale wind farms currently in development.

The government has pledged to stand behind the most cost-effective power-generating options, including onshore wind. Onshore capacity should grow to 6GW by 2020, from the current 2.1GW.

Optimisation incentive

An improved renewables incentive scheme, the SDE+, offering site-dependent tariff differentiation is now likely to be postponed until 2013. The current SDE incentive has a maximum full-load hour cap, which encourages the use of inefficient turbines with high specific power rating (expressed as kW/m2) instead of promoting the optimisation of energy yields.

Under EU obligations, the Netherlands is committed to reaching a 14% renewable-energy target by 2020. A previous national target of 20% by the same date has been abandoned.

In 2010 Dutch renewables' share had dropped to 3.8% from 4.2% in 2009. Last year was more favourable for the Dutch wind sector. A total of 77MW became operational in 2011, with Enercon supplying the bulk of that.

Both Enercon and Nordex have said they will complete at least 50MW each this year. Repower is aiming for about 25MW, while Lagerwey Wind has finished two new direct-drive prototypes of 2.5MW and 2.6MW, and plans to start manufacturing wind turbines in the Netherlands this year.