TenneT appointed as offshore grid operator in the Netherlands

Structured approach, careful planning and standardization will help realize cost savings while contributing to achievement of Energy Agreement targets / TenneT to invest in future-proof offshore grid with less impact on environment.

Electricity transmission operator TenneT welcomes the Dutch government’s decision to appoint TenneT as the operator of the offshore power grid in the Netherlands. TenneT CEO Mel Kroon commented:

“TenneT is keen to contribute to the energy transition in the Netherlands by realizing a future-proof offshore grid. A co-ordinated effort to connect offshore wind farms will lead to lower social costs and reduce the impact on the human environment. This structured approach offers many benefits compared to realizing individual connections. Having TenneT make all the required investments in the offshore infrastructure will result in a range of synergy benefits in areas such as financing, procurement, standardization and knowledge development. TenneT will co-operate closely with all relevant stakeholders, including of course the wind farm developers.”

A power grid at sea is necessary to connect offshore wind energy sources to the national transmission grid. The Dutch government has explained its decision on this matter in a letter to the Lower House of the Dutch Parliament.

TenneT will construct grid connections for offshore wind farms with a total capacity of 3450 megawatts (MW). The wind farms will be erected in the Dutch part of the North Sea in the period until 2023, further to the Energy Agreement brokered by the Social and Economic Council of the Netherlands (SER). The electricity produced by these wind farms will be sufficient to meet the annual electricity needs of approx. 1 million households (nearly one-seventh of the total number of households in the Netherlands).

Straight to work

Based on the government’s decision, TenneT has already started the necessary preparations. There is no time to waste if we want to meet the Dutch energy transition targets, which call for 14 percent of all energy to be produced from renewable sources by 2020, rising to 16 percent by 2023. The Dutch government will shortly announce the planned locations of the offshore wind farms, and the sequence in which they will be constructed. TenneT will then prepare a detailed offshore grid plan based on this road map.

Cost savings thanks to hub technology

TenneT is planning to construct a number of AC grid connections* with large standardized offshore platforms to provide direct links to the wind farms. This approach will yield cost savings thanks to economies of scale and a smaller number of platforms for ‘plugging in’ the wind farms. The platforms will also act as hubs to connect further offshore wind farms in the future.

TenneT has adopted this approach with a view to the long-term development of the North Sea as a source of energy after 2023.

*) AC stands for ‘Alternating Current’. Because most offshore wind farms in Germany are located far out to sea, they must be connected to the grid using Direct Current (DC) technology in order to prevent transmission losses.

Expertise in offshore wind energy

TenneT has already gained extensive experience and expertise in connecting offshore wind energy sources to the German grid. In the period until 2020, TenneT will realize at least 7100 MW of connection capacity for offshore wind energy in Germany alone, in anticipation of the German government’s energy transition targets and the construction of several planned offshore wind farms.
In Germany, High-Voltage Direct-Current (HVDC) technology and offshore converter platforms are generally used, as the wind farms are located far out to sea. The platforms installed by TenneT in the German part of the North Sea are the first of their kind anywhere in the world. The more expensive HVDC technology is not necessary in the Netherlands because the wind farms will be located closer to shore.

TenneT’s extensive experience in offshore wind energy in Germany and the appointment as offshore grid operator in the Netherlands make it the leading global expert in connecting offshore wind energy sources to the grid.


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