The Netherlands may become home to the world’s cheapest offshore wind farm in as little as 10 years, according to the nation’s government. Plans for a 700 MW wind farm are coming together and, after considering 38 bids from developers, the cost of the Borssele offshore wind farm is now estimated to run $2.9 billion less than originally thought. Additionally, the wind farm will have a higher output, producing 22.5 percent more electricity than anticipated.
The Borselle wind farm under discussion actually represents two sites that will together generate clean energy nearly 14 miles off the coast of Zeeland province. Eventually, the Borssele project will be expanded to encompass five separate sites, the last of which will be a smaller experimental farm used to test new wind energy technology. With Sites I and II coming in at such a savings, in part thanks to government subsidies, it’s possible the timeline for the other sites will be expedited.
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“Worldwide, it has never happened before that an offshore wind farm can be built at such low cost,” said Henk Kamp, Netherlands’ minister of economic affairs. “The Dutch system in which companies have to compete with each other while the government regulates all conditions for building the wind farm has proved to be very successful. This reduction of cost represents a major breakthrough in the transition to more sustainable energy.”
With the wind farm comes clean energy for nearly one million homes, expanding to five million once the remaining wind farms are built. The Borssele wind farm will also create around 10,000 jobs, as well as other economic benefits for the nearby communities. These wind farm projects are part of the country’s larger strategy to increase offshore wind energy generation capacity from the existing 1,000 MW to a grand total of 4,500 MW, which contributes to the national goal of 16 percent renewable energy by 2023.
Currently, the world’s largest offshore wind farm is the 630 MW London Array project, but the Borssele wind farm is expected to win that title upon its completion, with 700 MW.