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Borssele I And II: A Win-Wind Solution

Netherland’s Largest Offshore Wind Farm To Be Built Off The Coast Of Zeeland


Five offshore wind farm zones have been designated for the development of new wind farms in the Netherlands with a new government scheme launched to facilitate the establishment of these farms. The first round of tenders for two plots of land for the Borssele Wind Farm Zones (BWFZ) I and II, located 22 kilometres off the Zeeland coast, started at the end of March 2016. The establishing of the Borssele wind farm marks another milestone in the province of Zeeland’s impressive offshore wind energy track record and will be the largest Dutch offshore wind zone thus far.


With a project of this scale, major energy suppliers, project developers, turbine manufacturers and financiers are merging to bid. The Dutch government grant scheme is also widely recognised as a stable foundation for investment. Additionally, the construction of wind turbines in the shallow Dutch seabed is relatively affordable. And what’s more, Zeeland’s strategic location allows for efficient wind-on-sea logistics which further aids the contruction efforts of this magnitude.

The ports of Zeeland – with a proven track record in offshore logistics of over 30 offshore wind farms – have carved a name for themeselves as the front-runners, both within the Netherlands and in Europe, in offshore logistics due to the strategic location close to many offshore oil and gas installations. Companies with a wordwide reputation such as Verbrugge Terminals and BOW Terminal offer the space, facilities and equipment needed for all the operations involved in the final construction and maintenace of offshore farms.

One of the parties competing for the tender will be a unique consortium representing experienced offshore wind players in Zeeland. The Zeeuws Offshore Wind Project (ZOWP) is a consortium of Zeeland companies bidding to develop the 1,400MW Borssele site. This consortium includes offshore construction company Heerema, logistics company Verbrugge, energy supplier and project developer Zeeuwind, and the environmental association ZMF. A further contender is the German RWE, together with EDP Reneweables and Macquarie Capital. It is expected that at least ten consortiums will be bidding for this lucrative construction contract.


Increased Offshore Wind Power Framework

The development of the BWFZ stems from the Energy Agreement for Sustainable Growth signed by the Dutch government and parties involved in the energy market in 2013. The aim of the agreement is to make the Netherlands less dependent on coal, oil and gas, while securing the country’s energy supply and keeping energy costs under control. The agreement sets a target for 14% of all energy to be generated from renewable sources by 2020, increasing to 16% by 2023.

Offshore wind energy will play a significant role in meeting this target. The road map sets out a schedule of tenders offering 700 MW of development each year between 2015 and 2019, under the condition that the cost of offshore wind power will decrease by 40% in 2024 compared to 2014. The Dutch government wants cumulative-installed offshore wind capacity to reach 4,500 MW by 2023. A systematic framework under which offshore wind farm zones are designated was therefore created by the Dutch government and three offshore Wind Farm Zones will be used for the deployment of the 3,500 MW of new offshore wind power: Borssele (1,400 MW), Hollandse Kust ZH (1,400 MW) and Hollandse Kust NH (700 MW).


Grant Support System

Furthermore, a new market framework and funding support system was designed in consultation with the wind energy sector. Under the new framework, the government is responsible for grants, project consents and grid connection. Project development rights will be awarded to companies through five planned tenders. Companies will be invited to submit bids to develop projects in each round; with the company bidding the lowest price awarded a permit to build and operate the wind farm and granted the associated funding. Grants and permits for the BWFS I and II will be awarded through dedicated calls for tender by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency under the Stimulation of Sustainable Energy Production (SDE+).

The company that tenders the lowest bid for a project will receive both the grant and the permit to build, operate and decommission a wind farm. The SDE+ is an operating grant with producers receiving financial compensation for the renewable energy they generate. Compensation will be available for a period of 15 years with the rate for the production of renewable energy capped. For BWFZ I and II, the base sum is set at EUR 124 per MWh. The tender winner also receives a permit that is valid for a 30-year period. The wind farm must be operating within five years, but it can start production in year 3 and operate up to year 29. Decommissioning can start in year 25 and should be completed in year 30. The permit also outlines details for the financial guarantee for decommissioning.

Upon completion, the BWFZ will be connected to platform operator TenneT through a submarine cable connected to the grid on land. TenneT will build grid connections for the planned 3,500 MW of new offshore wind capacity. To create economies of scale, TenneT will construct five standardised offshore substations, each with a capacity of 700 MW. The substations will be connected to the national EHV grid with two 220kV export cables. Output from the Borssele Wind Farm Zones I and II will be connected to a single platform, the Borssele Alpha.


Impressive Wind Farm Portfolio

Zeeland offers an impeccable geographical position when it comes to North Sea wind farms. Zeeland Seaports, the combined ports of Vlissingen and Terneuzen, has been a reliable and sizeable player for many years. Zeeland’s lock-free harbour, without any tidal and air draft restrictions and situated close to main trading routes, means that large vessels can reach the ports easily. The permanent 1,200-tonne heavy-crane capacity is perfect for heavy lifting and the port’s harbour seabed conditions are ideal for jack-up installation vessels. Furthermore, a heliport is being constructed to transport electrical and maintenance personnel to and from the wind farm zones. Training centres are being established for the education of an expected 100 specialists who will be working from six maintenance vessels. All these factors, combined with Zeeland’s excellent access via inland shipping, has seen the seaports in Zeeland service more than 25 European wind farms. One such project, facilitated by Zeeland Seaports, was the 600MW Gemini offshore wind farm, one of the largest offshore wind parks in the world. Expected to be fully operational in 2017, it will consist of 150 Siemens 4MW turbines installed across two locations 85 kilometres off the Dutch coast.


All evidence of Zeeland Seaports’ lead position within offshore. Or, in the words of Peter Geertse, Commercial Manager of ZSP: “We’re ready for it. We have all the locations and the facilities to make this happen. We have the expertise and the experience, as well as the impartiality and the availability to do this project. Welcome to our backyard!”