Dutch Landscape Shifts with North Sea Wind Farms, Onshore Hubs

Credit: Peter Adams/AdobeStock
Credit: Peter Adams/AdobeStock

Onshore substations springing up to receive electricity from its burgeoning North Sea wind farms are triggering rapid change in the electrical infrastructure landscape of the Netherlands, renowned for its windmills in an earlier era. 

After years of lagging behind its European partners, the Netherlands has been increasing its renewable energy production and cutting greenhouse gas emissions. 

On Wednesday, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte toured facilities in the Port of Rotterdam, where huge turbines are being shipped out to sea and incoming high-voltage current is converted for industrial use. 

The share of renewable energy in the overall Dutch energy mix is now around 16%, compared with 11% in 2020, when it missed a 14% target it had agreed with the European Union. 

Dutch renewable electricity generation is now increasing at a faster pace due to growing wind and solar power, with the government targeting 21 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030.

 Although fossil fuels such as natural gas for heating still provide most Dutch energy, 53% of the electricity used in March 2023 came from renewable sources, up from 39% in 2022, according to The National Climate Platform.

 And data published this month by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) showed Dutch greenhouse gas emissions were down 9% in 2022 from 2021, or 30% below 1990 levels, putting the country on track to meet a goal of a 55% reduction by 2030.

(Reuters - Reporting by Piroschka van de Wouw and Toby Sterling; Editing by Alexander Smith)

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