Dutch ‘energy hubs’ to connect hydrogen pipelines by 2050

The Dutch government has said it will develop additional energy hubs in the North Sea beyond 2030 that will enable electricity and hydrogen to be produced and transported to its own or its neighbours’ shores.

The Dutch government is considering offshore wind targets of 50GW for 2040 and 70GW for 2050 (pic credit: Octopus Energy)

A market update on offshore wind energy from RVO, the Netherlands Enterprise Agency, said the hubs would facilitate the interconnection and exchange of electricity with other North Sea countries, including the UK, Denmark, Belgium, Germany and Norway. Over time, this will include the production of green hydrogen at sea and pipelines to transport hydrogen to shore.

A roadmap to 2050 has not yet been finalised, but the economic affairs and climate ministry is considering offshore wind targets of 50GW for 2040 and 70GW for 2050.

One of the four key policy documents driving North Sea developments for the Netherlands, the North Sea energy infrastructure plan (EIPN), will define infrastructure requirements for offshore wind and hydrogen between 2030 and 2050, including the areas for the energy hubs. Due for completion by early 2024, the EIPN will also define the capacity needs for hydrogen pipelines and electricity cables.

In March, the Dutch government announced plans for a 500MW production facility to convert wind power into hydrogen in the North Sea, to enter operation in 2031. The first will see a pilot project with an electrolysis capacity of 50-100MW being developed to test the technology.

Other hydrogen projects include the flexible offshore wind hydrogen power plant module (FlexH2), which was awarded a grant in 2021. This concept for combining  offshore wind and onshore hydrogen production aims to provide greater flexibility to the power system.