Dutch Ambassador Akkerman's speech at Vietnam Energy Summit 2020.

Offshore wind energy development – Experience from the Netherlands.

Leadership from Central Economic Commission, Australian Ambassador to Vietnam, ladies and gentlemen,

I appreciate to be here with you at this Vietnam Energy Summit and contribute to the Conference on Windpower Development in Vietnam’s National Energy Development Strategy for the coming years. This Conference offers an excellent occasion to exchange views on opportunities and challenges related to the Clean Energy development.  This is also a chance to share views on how Vietnam and other countries can cooperate and contribute to an inclusive economic growth and development toward global sustainability.

Therefore, I’m delighted to touch briefly on the experience in developing offshore wind energy in the Netherlands, in the context of global responsibility for our planet. 

We understand that the climate is changing. We all know that according to the Paris Climate Agreement of 2015 we should limit global warming to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, and preferably no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius. In the Netherlands, we take responsibility for doing everything we can to ensure our country remains habitable for future generations. An ambitious climate policy has environmental benefits and also provides opportunities for our economy  prosperity and earning capacity. As a prosperous and innovative nation, the Netherlands is perfectly positioned to succeed in ensuring that prosperity increases while greenhouse gas emissions decrease.

With this in mind, the Climate Agreement, passed by our parliament in 2019 contains a climate target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 49% by 2030 compared to 1990, to drive energy transition in the Netherlands. The Netherlands is aiming for 16% of all energy used to come from renewable sources in 2023, and a minimum of 27% in 2030. The Netherlands also wants to achieve zero carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from energy supply by 2050. Offshore wind energy is very important for meeting these goals.

Why offshore wind energy?

Offshore wind energy plays a key role in our energy transition. The North Sea is a good place to install wind turbines due to:

  • its relatively shallow waters;
  • its favourable wind speeds;
  • the proximity of good ports and (industrial) energy consumers.

I understand that Vietnam has similarities …

The costs of offshore wind energy have fallen significantly in recent years, making it the cheapest large-scale source of renewable energy in our region.

The potential economic opportunities arising from offshore wind farms are considerable. The renewable energy ambitions of the Netherlands and other EU countries create a large market which gives the Dutch offshore wind sector the opportunity to develop expertise and continue to build up its strong international position. Dutch companies already hold a market share of approximately 25 percent of the total European offshore wind energy market value, for example in construction of wind farms and power transmission. Dutch financial institutions are also very active.

Netherlands offshore wind energy targets

Offshore wind turbines installed capacity:  4.5 GW in 2023.

Offshore wind farms of approximately 11 GW capacity by 2030, producing 8.5% of all energy in the Netherlands and 40% of current electricity consumption.

Our measures: Offshore Wind Energy Roadmap

Following extensive consultation with many parties, the government has presented the plans in the “Offshore Wind Energy Roadmap”. This sets out where and when new wind farms will be built. The Roadmap provides clarity and certainty for wind farm developers. It includes:

  • A map with the locations of wind farm zones;
  • List of projects;
  • Planning and proposed tender schedule for offshore wind energy.

Wind farm planning and construction: Government role

The national government establishes the conditions for planning and building wind farms, including their location, the measures to protect nature, and the necessary permits. To this end, it researches the structure of the site, the seabed, wind speeds and water data. Thus, wind farm developers get all the information they need in advance about how best to build the wind farm, which reduces their project development risks.

The national government tenders the right to build wind farms on these sites, so wind farm developers compete with one another for permits.

Weighing of interests in relation to offshore wind farms

The national government takes account of other offshore and onshore interests when preparing and implementing the plans for offshore wind energy. Opinions and input of stakeholders are welcomed in the process of wind farm construction. The same applies to the procedures for installing the connections of the offshore grid. The location of the connection, both at sea and on land, is discussed with stakeholders in workshops. In addition, anyone may submit their opinion on decisions.

Public consultation on plans for offshore wind energy is thus encouraged. People are free to contribute ideas during the various stages of decision making. People can find information on offshore wind energy and concrete wind farm projects on several (governmental) websites.

In addition, strong research, demonstration and development efforts are being made in the area of carbon capture, renewable hydrogen production and sustained cost reduction of offshore wind and other renewable technologies. The Netherlands also stimulates energy efficiency and innovation in energy-intensive industries, which contributes to industrial competitiveness.  

The country also works on further interconnections with neighbouring countries (Denmark, Germany …) to offer routes for exporting offshore wind power.

Vietnam and the Netherlands

I understand that, with a long coastline, shallow seabed, and reliable offshore wind speeds, Vietnam has great potential for offshore wind energy. This could play a key role in the green energy transition, given the right target and policy framework. Offshore wind is a promising resource for achieving Viet Nam’s targets in its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement.

I noticed that Vietnam recently issued a series of directives recognizing the potential in developing a marine economy based on offshore wind power development. The Politburo’s Resolution No. 55/NQ-TW issued in February 2020 highlighted a national target of up to 20 % renewables by 2030. The government is currently finalising the national Power Development Plan 8, setting the role of renewables in power generation over the coming decades. I believe offshore wind energy should play an important role in this.

Vietnam is gradually completing relevant legal documents to attract international investment and expertise to develop its offshore wind power and contribute to reaching renewable energy targets. The Netherlands is ready to cooperate with Vietnam on this.

We are working to promote bilateral cooperation between governments, companies, knowledge institutions and others, with the objective of sharing knowledge, data, and best practices relevant to the development of offshore wind energy.

Experience from the Netherlands shows that the development of offshore wind farms can be optimized with standardized platforms, which can be connected to the national transmission system. Construction of large offshore wind farms with large turbines is feasible, but it requires specialised energy ports that provide high-tech services for offshore construction and Operation & Maintenance. The Netherlands and Vietnamese governments should cooperate on energy port development in support of offshore wind energy development in Vietnam.

I hope for long-lasting cooperation between partners, stakeholders in Vietnam, The Netherlands, and other countries for a sustainable energy sector in Vietnam.

I wish everybody a very fruitful discussion today. Thank you!