Netherlands to Increase Offshore Wind Fourfold in Next Decade

The Netherlands plans to boost offshore wind farms fourfold and curb energy use as it seeks to revive a faltering economy and secure future power supplies.

The nation plans to increase to 4,450 megawatts wind farms at sea by 2023 from about 1,000 megawatts installed or under development currently, the government said in documents on its website. It will also add onshore wind as it seeks to get 16 percent of its energy from renewables by the same year from 4 percent now, it said.

The plans are part of an energy accord to be signed today that’s the culmination of negotiations between government, industry and lobby groups. The agreement is meant to create jobs, lure investors to build power plants and meet demand while reducing emissions by as much as 95 percent in 2050.

“This sets the Netherlands up as the world’s newest offshore wind market, after previous governments had turned away from it because of cost,” Nico Tyabji, a London-based analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said today. The agreement will also help it meet a separate European Union target of getting 14 percent of energy from renewables by 2020, after it lagged behind other nations with EU goals, he said.

The agreement, which has 10 strands, also seeks to curb energy use by about 1.5 percent a year. It will focus on savings at buildings, including a 600 million-euro ($788 million) national energy-saving fund, as well as reducing use from industry, agriculture and other business. The accord will create more than 15,000 full-time jobs, the government said.

Cheaper Technology

The nation, which had scaled-back offshore wind plans for being too expensive, now proposes to add 3,450 megawatts through cost reductions to the technology of about 40 percent, the government said. It also plans to reach 6,000 megawatts of onshore wind by 2020.

The Netherlands will limit burning of biomass because of sustainability of the resource. It will also reduce coal plants, with three closures in 2016 and two the year after. Gas will remain important in the energy mix, it said.

The government will develop carbon capture and storage technology, which traps emissions from power stations and factories. The accord also seeks to reduce transport emissions by 60 percent by 2050 compared with 1990 levels.

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