Dutch to start investigating new offshore wind sites at IJmuiden Ver

The Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, through the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO), has launched a tender for geophysical investigations in an extended area in the North of the IJmuiden Ver Wind Farm Zone (WFZ), where an additional 2 GW of offshore wind capacity could be accommodated on top of the 4 GW currently planned.

The extension of investigation area in the North of IJmuiden Ver WFZ consists of approximately 250 square kilometres.

RVO plans to conclude an agreement with a contractor who is able to perform the geophysical investigations required to obtain the soil information at the northern part of the IJmuiden Ver WFZ, with the contract to run from 15 February 2022 until 1 April 2023 and the field work scheduled to be carried out from of 2022.

The objective of the geophysical soil investigation is to improve the bathymetrical, morphological and geological understanding and to identify objects in the designated wind farm sites. A second objective is to obtain geophysical information on these locations, which is suitable for the preparation of geotechnical investigations and for the design and installation requirements of offshore wind farms, RVO said.

The tender is open until 14 December 2021.

The IJmuiden Ver WFZ currently has four sites which can together add 4 GW of offshore wind capacity to the Dutch energy mix.

The Dutch government is set to issue two tenders for the permits to develop the zone. In 2023, developers will bid for IJmuiden Ver I and II sites, and in 2025 a tender will be launched for IJmuiden Ver III and IV.

TenneT will install two 2 GW direct current connections, Alpha and Beta, to transfer electricity generated by the offshore wind farms at the four sites to land and has already started working on realising the 4 GW grid connection plans.

At the beginning of October, the transmission system operator (TSO) launched a tender for two 2 GW offshore platforms and high voltage direct current (HVDC) systems in the IJmuiden Ver wind. Contracts are expected to be awarded by the end of 2022 and the first grid connection is planned to be put into operation in 2028.

At this year’s Offshore Energy Exhibition and Conference (OEEC) in Amsterdam, RVO and TenneT said it was likely that the IJmuiden Ver zone would incorporate three instead of two 2 GW grid connection systems and have 6 GW instead of 4 GW of total installed offshore wind capacity, with the zone planned to comprise six areas instead of four.

Final decision on developing wind energy projects at the two new sites will take place within the framework of the North Sea Programme, which will also allow for the third, Gamma connection to firmly move forward.

The Gamma connection, if given the go-ahead, must be operational by 2030, at the latest.

The third grid connection will follow the same route as Beta and will be connected to the transmission network on land at Maasvlakte, and in order to utilise the synergistic benefits with the IJmuiden Ver Beta offshore grid as much as possible, the government and TenneT have already started the Gamma project, with all steps reversible if necessary later on.