Netherlands & Belgium - Low countries look to offshore for future

NETHERLANDS/BELGIUM: The Netherlands added 283MW of new capacity, all of it onshore, during 2013, to bring its total wind capacity to 2,693MW, of which 228MW is offshore.

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Belgium installed 84MW onshore and 116MW offshore during the year to hit a total of 1,579MW, split 1,083MW onshore and 496MW offshore.

The Netherlands' new capacity in 2013 benefited from the completion of Vattenfall's 122MW Princess Alexia project, plus 77.5MW at the repowered Kreekraksluis facility. Belgium's total was boosted by the completion of C-Power's 295MW Thornton Bank offshore wind farm.

In 2014 Belgium should install over 300MW, the bulk of which will be provided by the 216MW Northwind offshore project. By contrast, the Netherlands looks due for a quiet year with no large projects scheduled to come online. However, offshore construction work should start this summer on the 129MW Eneco Luchterduinen project and Typhoon's 600MW Gemini wind farm.

Policy for offshore

On the regulatory side, draft laws detailing Belgium's new offshore support mechanism, which will vary according to the market price, are expected soon, while competitive tendering should be introduced for onshore projects in Wallonia.

The Dutch government recently launched a process to identify new zones for offshore development, targeting 4.45GW by 2023. Meanwhile, the provinces have been asked to find space for an extra 3.5GW to meet the onshore target of 6GW. The results are expected to be published in the summer.

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