The Netherlands is busy building hybrid clean energy technologies at sea

The first wind turbine erected at the Hollandse Kust Zuid wind farm in April 2022. Photo credit: Vattenfall / Ties van der Horst.

By Anders Lorenzen

The combination of offshore wind turbines, floating solar panels and green hydrogen are some of the hybrid clean energy technologies currently under development off the Dutch coast. 

The low-lying European country is using its expertise in water engineering to build up its next wave of clean energy infrastructure. Ten out of its 140 wind turbines have already started to generate electricity for the grid. 

One of the key projects dominating is a 1.5 gigawatt (GW) wind farm, Hollandse Kust Zuid, which is scheduled for completion next year. The flagship wind farm made headlines as the operator, Swedens’s Vattenfall in 2018 won the concession to build it without government subsidy. 

20 GW before 2030

The Netherlands plans to connect more than 20 GW of wind power before 2030.

A subsea station, in which the electricity generated will be transferred to the mainland, was completed in July.

The Dutch are also trialling a cluster of floating solar panels named ‘Oceans of Energy’. The 1 megawatt (MW) test project is still a little way off being commercially viable, but it is hoped that its upcoming 3MW and 50MW projects will resolve that. 

Using existing fossil fuel infrastructure, the green hydrogen project ‘PosHYdon’ will convert electricity to hydrogen and send it to shore via natural gas pipelines. Even though this project is still uneconomical, engineers are planning for the eventuality that in the long run electricity will be cheap and that it would make sense to convert some to hydrogen for usage in transport or stell-making. 

Due to the nature of its low-lying land, the Netherlands is one of the key European countries at the forefront of the battle against climate change. To bring down its emissions what better way than to utilise that powerful North Sea coastline which batters them during storms to increase its clean energy portfolio?

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