Wind energy in the Netherlands

The Dutch government's climate plans state that by 2030 at least 27 percent of the energy must come from sustainable sources and that our energy supply has to be CO₂-free by 2050. Wind energy, both on land and at sea, plays an important role in achieving these goals. Read more about wind energy in the Netherlands below.

Onshore wind energy

Generating energy using onshore wind turbines is one of the cheapest ways to generate sustainable energy. Because the technology to generate electricity with wind turbines on land is sufficiently developed to be used on a large scale, onshore wind energy is a reliable and efficient sustainable energy source. In addition, the construction of wind farms provides employment and income. For example, wind farms are often developed in cooperation with local building contractors and residents can share in the proceeds. The Dutch government’s climate agreement even aims to ensure that half of the wind and solar farms are owned by local residents and companies.

When it comes to generating wind energy on land, the Dutch government has set the following goals (source:

  • Onshore wind turbines must be able to supply 6,000 megawatts (MW) of energy by 2020. According to the Dutch government’s energy agreement for sustainable growth, each province accounts for part of this;
  • At the end of 2018, the capacity of usable onshore wind energy in the Netherlands was 3,382 MW. An average wind turbine provides about 3.5 MW. This means that at the end of 2018, about 750 wind turbines had to be added on land to meet the 2020 targets;
  • These targets are not expected to be fully achieved because onshore wind farms will be completed later than planned. However, the project capacity of the planned wind farms will increase to approximately 7,200 MW after 2020;
  • All onshore wind energy contributes to the goal of generating at least 35 TWh of sustainable electricity (wind and sun) on land by 2030.

Offshore wind energy

The Netherlands is a country that can take advantage of wind energy generated at sea. The North Sea is perfect for wind farms. It is relatively shallow, there is a favorable wind climate and there are good ports and large consumers nearby, including the industrial sector. Because the costs of wind energy at sea have fallen considerably in recent years, energy generated at sea is the most advantageous large-scale renewable energy source.

When it comes to wind energy generated at sea, the Dutch government has formulated the following goals (source:

  • In 2019, the wind turbines at sea delivered a total capacity of approximately 1 GW. It is intended to grow to at least 4.5 GW by 2023. According to the Dutch government’s energy agreement for sustainable growth, offshore wind energy will then account for 3.3 percent of all Dutch energy;
  • According to the current government coalition agreement and the climate agreement, there should be approximately 11 GW of offshore wind farms by 2030 (representing 8.5 percent of all energy in the Netherlands and 40 percent of our current electricity consumption);
  • Offshore wind farms not only contribute to a sustainable energy supply. The construction of offshore wind farms also creates economic opportunities. This will enable the Dutch offshore and wind sector to further develop its expertise and strengthen its international position. Dutch companies already control a quarter of the total European market for offshore wind energy.

Between 2020 and 2023, two wind farms of at least 0.7 GW each will be constructed off the coast of the Dutch province of Zeeland. After that, three wind farms are planned 18.5 km off the coast of the provinces of South Holland and North Holland. Between 2024 and 2030, parks will then follow far out to sea, off the Dutch coast and north of the Wadden Islands.