The Dutch government is making steady progress with the preparations for the tender of the subsidies and permits for offshore wind projects on the Dutch North Sea. Last Friday (7 August), the Minister of Economic Affairs and the Minister of Infrastructure and Environment published the draft plot decisions for the first two plots for offshore wind energy that will be put to tender at the end of 2015.
The plot decision is a new instrument, which is introduced by the new Offshore Wind Energy Act. The plot decisions will form the basis on which the permits for individual offshore wind projects will be granted.
The draft plot decisions contain provisions that the wind project developer needs to comply with in relation to the coordinates within which the wind project should be built, the minimum and maximum sizes of the wind turbines and the types of foundations that are allowed. The draft plot decisions stipulate that the wind projects shall have a minimum capacity of 342 MW and a maximum capacity of 380 MW each. The plot decisions also contain a provision that the permit for the wind projects (on the basis of the Offshore Wind Energy Act) will be granted for a duration of 30 years and a provision that the wind projects should be decommissioned within 2 years after they are taken out of operation. The wind project developer will be obligated to provide security for the benefit of the Dutch State in the amount of EUR 120,000 per MW that will be realised (i.e. between EUR 41.04 million and EUR 45.6 million per wind project). This amount will be indexed by 2 percent per year, until the moment that the wind project is decommissioned.
The draft plot decisions also contain a consideration of the interest of offshore wind energy vis-a-vis other interests that are relevant in the area (such as fishery, shipping, sand extraction, oil and gas production and nature values). On the basis of the research into the relevant nature values, the plot decisions stipulate that the wind project developers have to take certain measures into account to mitigate the effects on nature values. These mitigating measures entail, amongst others, that underwater noise caused by piling should be minimised and that the rotations of the operational wind turbines should be limited when this is required to prevent damage to nature values.
Anyone can file comments (zienswijze) in relation to the draft plot decisions until 17 September 2015. The Ministers will thereafter take the final plot decisions (expected in November 2015), taking into account the comments that were filed. The final plot decisions will be subject to appeals by interested parties.
To learn more about the developments in relation to offshore wind in the Netherlands, please read our recent briefings on this subject: