The Netherlands: TenneT Sets Up Offshore Grid Development Base

TenneT has established a new Offshore Netherlands department dedicated to the development of an offshore electricity grid in the Dutch part of the North Sea.

In June of this year, Minister Kamp of Economic Affairs took the guiding decision to appoint TenneT as the sole operator of the offshore electricity grid under law. This decision cleared the way for the establishment of a dedicated department. Marco Kuijpers will lead the new Offshore Netherlands department.

In his previous position at TenneT, Marco Kuijpers was responsible for the preparations and negotiations for the BritNed project, a 1,000 MW subsea cable linking the Netherlands to the United Kingdom. He was also involved in a number of major onshore projects in the Netherlands. Before joining TenneT, Marco Kuijpers was a managing partner at the consultancy firm Twynstra Gudde. In this role, he was involved in a variety of wind energy and offshore construction projects.

TenneT CEO Mel Kroon commented: “We are bringing together knowledge, skills and experience in this new department in our offshore organization, to ensure that offshore wind farms are connected to TenneT’s onshore high-voltage grid as efficiently as possible. The Netherlands wants to construct offshore wind farms with a total capacity of 3,450 MW by 2020. Close collaboration with offshore wind farm developers is essential to achieving this highly ambitious aim. The Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs recently announced the sites where wind farms can be constructed and in what sequence they should be built. Our dedicated team can now set to work on drawing up an offshore grid development plan and undertaking other essential preparations for obtaining the required permits and putting the projects out to tender.”

How does TenneT connect offshore wind farms to the grid?
TenneT will be responsible for connecting the offshore wind farms to its onshore high-voltage grid. The electricity generated by the wind turbines will be ‘collected’ at large offshore substations (‘sockets at sea’). The renewable electricity is then transported from these substations to the onshore grid via cables installed in the seabed. Via a TenneT transformer substation, the electricity is then distributed across the Dutch electricity grid.

Extensive experience in offshore wind energy
TenneT has gained extensive experience in connecting offshore wind farms to the grid. The electricity transmission operator is also responsible for this task in Germany, where TenneT is currently realizing over 7,100 MW of connection capacity for offshore wind farms. TenneT uses both Alternating Current (AC) and Direct Current (DC) connections for this purpose. AC connections can be used in the Dutch part of the North Sea because the wind farms will be located much closer to shore than in Germany. AC technology is more cost-effective and makes it possible to construct much smaller offshore substations.

Press Release, October 13, 2014


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