Stable, reliable and affordable: Wind’s contribution to The Netherlands’ energy future

    On June 15-16, more than 2,000 visitors from The Netherlands and abroad attended Wind Days (Winddagen) 2016 – four times more visitors than last year. This growth reflects the increasing interest in the Dutch wind market.

    The Wind Days also marked the launch of the GROW program (Growth through Research, Development and Demonstration in Offshore Wind). LM Wind Power, as part of a consortium of about twenty organizations in the Dutch offshore wind sector, presented GROW to the Minister of Economic Affairs Henk Kamp during the event.

    After two packed days representing LM Wind Power, Mirjam Penders, Director Strategy Projects, came away with a promising outlook on the Dutch wind market. Now, here’s her view on wind’s position in The Netherlands, and LM Wind Power’s contribution to a stable, reliable and affordable energy future.

    A courageous vision
    The Netherlands has embraced a courageous vision: by 2050, the country will have a sustainable, reliable and affordable energy system. As part of this, the Dutch aim to cut CO2 emissions by half to generate approximately 40 percent of electricity from sustainable sources.

    During Wind Days 2016, Minister Kamp stated in his speech, “Wind energy offers a great opportunity for a sustainable energy system and for the Dutch economic growth.”

    Currently, there are around 2,300 wind turbines with a capacity of 3,700 MW on- and offshore. According to the Statistics Netherlands (CBS), wind contributes to less than 2 percent of the total energy consumption in 2015. So there is still a long way to go for the Dutch energy mix.

    But is the vision for 2050 achievable? The Netherlands is a very densely populated country and the most favorable onshore wind locations are already in use. Thus, the future growth of the Dutch energy sector will be mainly in the offshore segment.

    GROWing offshore
    The Netherlands aspires to have the largest offshore wind parks in Europe. With low to moderate water depths, high wind speeds and relatively short distances between wind farms and load centers, the Dutch have a unique combination of favorable conditions. In addition, the North Sea is surrounded by energy-intensive countries with a strong renewable energy demand.

    In the past, The Netherlands was missing a strong sustainable energy outlook for large industrials to make long term commitments, such as developing a local supply chain. However, in recent years the Dutch Government developed an active sustainable energy policy with strong future commitments.

    The Netherlands together with Germany and the UK are expected to have the largest offshore wind capacity in Europe by 2022. The Netherlands alone aims for a total of 4,500 MW installed offshore wind capacity, of which the majority still needs to be installed. Currently, the Netherlands has four offshore wind parks with an installed capacity of around 960 MW. Between 2016 and 2019, five large tenders of 700 MW each will be announced.

    Source: Netherlands Enterprise Agency (, 2016.

    The first of the five tenders, the Borssele I and II projects off the coast of Zeeland, was announced earlier this year and received 38 bids – reflecting the interest in the Dutch offshore market. But in order to be a truly sustainable sector, the cost of offshore wind needs to further decrease and reach grid parity.

    GROW will contribute to the Netherlands' goals for a renewable and independent energy supply. The group’s mission: to further reduce the cost of offshore wind energy and reach 7 eurocents per kWh by 2030, reflecting a 50% reduction compared to 2014. At this cost level, offshore wind will compete with other renewable and fossil energy sources – without having to be subsidized.

    Over the next five years, GROW will help introduce innovations to the market and will thus further strengthen the Dutch offshore wind sector, leading to significant growth in knowledge-intensive employment. The program will spend at least 100 million euros on research, development and demonstration projects over the next five years.

    It’s an exciting time for LM Wind Power in The Netherlands, where we are proud to have two locations: a Global Business Office in Amsterdam and an engineering office in Heerhugowaard. We constantly strive to reduce the cost of energy through innovative blade technology, including our newly announced LM 88.4 P – the world’s longest blade at an impressive 88.4 meters long. Through GROW, we will continue on this path, and we look forward to new developments that bring affordable, clean energy to Dutch homes.

    Below: Photos from Wind Days 2016, courtsey of GROW. LM Wind Power CEO Marc de Jong, together with other CEO's from the consortium, signed and presented GROW to Minister Kamp.

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