Groningen calls for at least 10GW offshore

NETHERLANDS: The province of Groningen has called for at least 10GW of wind farms to be built north of the Wadden Islands after consultants explored the area's potential for development.

The area explored by Blix neighbours the 600MW Gemini wind farm
The area explored by Blix neighbours the 600MW Gemini wind farm

At least 10GW of development is possible there, Blix Consultancy concluded, and though the projects would not necessarily be cheaper than other parks, they would also "certainly not (be) expensive".

This would create jobs in the region, Blix found, while Groningen province suggested it would help produce five-times its own energy demand by 2035.

But the consultants conceded there was "unpredictability" with how the increase in employment would affect residents, as well as how the rapid expansion of offshore projects would affect marine life.

In May of this year, Groningen offered to produce five times the energy requirements of its own people — a population of over 570,000 at the last count.

The province commissioned the Blix report, Offshore Wind over the Wadden, to "visualise potential" projects in the region.

Blix predicted that constructing 11GW of wind farms could create between 5,000 and 10,000 work-years of employment in Groningen during development, construction and installation.

But the consultants admitted that the increase in employment was "difficult to predict", and it did not know where developers and stakeholders further down the supply chain would come from.

The report’s authors also warned of the "cumulative impact of several wind farms" — the area explored by Blix neighbours the recently-completed 600MW Gemini wind farm and projects in German waters.

The impact this might have on protected species could "frustrate the development", the consultants warned.

Accordingly, they suggested "extensive ecological research" would be needed to map out potential sites in further detail.

Nevertheless, Blix concluded there was "great potential" for developing offshore wind projects north of the Wadden Islands.

The consultants predicted an average levelised cost of energy (LCOE) including transmission of €78.80/MWh for the potential projects in the region.

The report has prompted the province of Groningen to call on Dutch minister of economic affairs Henk Kamp to allow more wind farms in the region.

The Netherlands has targeted 4.5GW of offshore wind capacity by 2023 — the same year the government has vowed to provide 16% of its energy from renewable sources.

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