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Offshore Wind Costs Hit Record Low with New Dutch Wind Farm

The Borssele 1+2 wind farm will be constructed 22km off the Dutch coast and be the cheapest offshore wind farm ever built. | Image credit: DONG Energy

Only four years ago, offshore wind farm developer DONG Energy set an ambitious 2020 target to build offshore wind energy for less than €100 per MWh. The target was also later adopted by the offshore wind industry. With Borssele 1+2, the forthcoming wind farm in the Netherlands, the target has now been reached.

Head of Wind Power at DONG Energy, Samuel Leupold, says: “With Borssele 1 and 2, we’re reaching a critical industry milestone more than three years ahead of time. This demonstrates the great potential of offshore wind.”

Clean energy for five million households

DONG Energy's
Filip Engel,
SB'16 Copenhagen

For the Dutch government, this low price means the Borssele 1+2 project will be €2.7 billion cheaper than expected.

"Worldwide, it has never happened before that an offshore wind farm can be built at such low cost,” says Minister of Economic Affairs Henk Kamp. “This reduction of cost represents a major breakthrough in the transition to more sustainable energy.”

Borssele 1+2 is big enough to cover the power consumption of one million Dutch households, and more offshore wind energy is underway in the Netherlands. According to the government, four additional offshore wind farms will follow in the coming years. Combined, these five wind farms will have a capacity of 3,500MW, generating enough power for more than five million households - a major contribution to the Netherlands’ goal of 16 percent sustainable energy in 2023.

Driving down the cost of offshore wind

DONG Energy

The record-low price on Borssele 1+2 is a result of a focused effort by DONG Energy and by the offshore wind industry at large. The industry works hard on innovating and cost-optimising all aspects of the technology - from the wind turbine, blades and foundations to cables and installation methods.

The cost reductions are also a result of achieving economies of scale – the cost advantages of increasing the size, scale and output of a production. Offshore wind is still a young industry compared to other energy industries, so many scale advantages are yet to be seen. Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicts that for every time global wind capacity doubles, costs are reduced by 19 percent.

Sponsored by
DONG Energy.

In addition, the Dutch sites offer good seabed conditions as well as good and stable wind speeds, contributing to high output from each wind turbine.

All signs point towards continued cost reductions. The next goal for DONG Energy and for the European offshore wind industry is to make offshore wind cheaper than fossil fuel alternatives before 2025. According to the company, this is an ambitious but not unrealistic goal.

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