Inventory of locations for North Sea wind farms post-2030
Meeting the climate change targets of the Paris Agreement is a challenge that involves deployment of large scale offshore wind energy production capacity. The North Sea countries have planned new offshore wind capacity of 55 GW up to 2030 and 20 GW3 after 2030. The North Sea Wind Power Hub Consortium wanted to identify new offshore wind farm locations post 2030 and asked TNO, ECN and Witteveen+Bos to look into this.
The criteria to select such locations include techno-economic considerations such as water depth, wind speed, cost and subsidies, existing spatial claims, the natural environment and public concerns such as visibility. For this project, Witteveen+Bos developed a North Sea covering mapping model that calculates the integrated levelized cost of energy (LCoE) of potential off shore wind farms, which includes the capex and opex of the wind farms, the capex and opex of the grid connections, and the spatial planning costs. Furthermore, we designed several roll-out pathways and analyzed the LCoE results. One of the results was that the optimization of the grid design has a larger impact on the societal costs of offshore wind energy, than the location choice.
With increased energy prices, the 2019 model needs new attention; the outcomes change based on the energy price level in 2022. The model shows that many more sites have favourable costs than expected, even if negative side effects need to be offset or mitigated. Wind farms in the North Sea can make a significant contribution to independence from (foreign) gas.