Offshore wind energy in the Netherlands

By Götz Hempel, TeekensKarstens advocaten notarissen

One of the connecting subjects between the Netherlands, Germany and Scandinavian countries are issues regarding renewable energy, namely on- and offshore wind energy. Especially the conditions for offshore wind energy in the Netherlands are excellent: relatively shallow waters, good wind resource, good harbour facilities, experienced industries and a new, robust support system.

Sustainable Growth

Regarding the development of renewable energies, the Netherlands made a major step forwards when forty-seven organisations – amongst others – public authorities, employers, unions, environmental organizations, other social organisations and financial institutions, agreed with the public authorities on 6 September 2013 to an Energy Agreement for Sustainable Growth. As part of this National Energy Agreement it has been agreed – amongst others – that (i) 16% of the Dutch final energy consumption must come from renewable sources and (ii) a road map shall be developed to increase offshore wind capacity from todays 1,000 MW to 4,500 MW operational in 2023, including the designation of wind farm zones for new wind farms. This road map foresees in five tenders of 700 MW each (Borssele wind farm site I – 2015, Borssele wind farm site II – 2016, South Holland coast wind farm site I – 2017, South Holland coast wind farm site II – 2018 and North Holland coast wind farm site – 2019). The Dutch Government shall be
responsible for a greater part of the preparations, including but not limited to consents, electrical infrastructure and insight in the physical environment. According to the Dutch Minister of Economic Affairs, the return on subsidies for offshore wind during 2019 to 2039 is expected to be approximately EUR 12 billion.

Legislative proposal Offshore Wind Energy Act

As an important step towards the realisation of the renewable energy targets as set out in the National Energy Agreement, on 26 March 2015, the House of Representatives (Tweede Kamer) passed the legislative proposal for the Offshore Wind Energy Act - OWEA (Wet windenergie op zee).

This Act intends to simplify and expedite the decision-making process for realisation of offshore wind projects. Based on the OWEA the responsible Minister will draft so-called wind farm site decisions (‘kavelbesluiten’, section 2 of the OWEA), in which the location for a wind farm and the conditions under which it may be constructed and operated will be specified. The OWEA Act further provides that the permit to develop a wind farm on a particular wind farm site is awarded to the winner of the subsidy tender. Furthermore, the OWEA Act sets certain requirements for the granting of a permit, including that the construction and exploitation of the wind farm is (technically and financially) feasible and that the exploitation can commence within four years after the permit has become irrevocable.

The OWEA Act will be sent to the Senate (Eerste Kamer) in due course and is expected to enter into force on 1 July 2015. It is expected that the first tender for the first two wind farm sites (Borssele I & II) will be launched in December 2015. The formal consultation concerning the wind farm site decision for these wind park sites will commence in the 3rd quarter of 2015.

Götz Hempel
TeekensKarstens advocaten notarissen, Leiden, Alphen aan den Rijn, The Netherlands
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Götz Hempel joined the Dutch GGI Member firm TeekensKarstens in March 2015, heading the firms German Desk. Born and raised in Germany he started his law studies in Germany and continued and finished his law studies with intermediates at the universities of Bergen/Norway and Uppsala/Sweden in the Netherlands. Following an internship at the University of Amsterdam, he started his career as a lawyer at a Dutch law firm with offices in Amsterdam and London about 8 years ago. With ample experience in corporate law his practice concentrates on mergers and acquisitions, (international) joint ventures, restructurings, corporate governance and (cross-border) commercial contracts. 

published: May 2015

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