Dutch electricity supply. Currently almost all electricity consumed is produced in the Netherlands. The plan in accordance with the EU is to replace almost all fossil generated electricity by renewable power by 2050 at the latest.
Electricity consumption: 120 billion kWh/year
Electricity per capita: 7085 kWh/year
Total installed capacity: 31.5 GW
Average consumption: 13.7 GW
Total connections: 8 million
Capacity factor latest North Sea wind farms: 50%
Assuming no storage losses then you would need 27.4 GW offshore nameplate wind power to meet current Dutch electricity demand levels. By 2023 4.5 GW are expected to be installed in the North Sea. Already allocated but not all covered with tenders yet are:
Borssele: 2064 MW
Hollandse Kust: 7350 MW
IJmuiden Ver: 7020 MW
Waddeneilanden: 1200 MW
Total: 17.5 GW
No fixed time table for these 17.5 GW exist, but if the first 4.5 GW are realized in 2023, you can expect that new capacity will be built with existing offshore production capacity in at least the same pace or higher. Since we already have 1 GW installed, the remaining 4.5-1=3.5 GW would take 5-6 years or 640 MW/year. The remaining 17.5-4.5=13 GW would require an additional 13/0.64=20 years or 2043 with existing installation capacity. In reality the offshore wind industry is rapidly growing and the targeted 17.5 GW will be achieved earlier, probably much earlier. Expect that by 2050 the Netherlands will enjoy the renewable energy consumption enabling them to continue the current affluence levels and will have created new large wealth creating industries in the energy and storage sector. Note that these figures do not include existing or future wind and solar capacity onshore.
After that the sky is the limit because the offshore industry could sell a lot of electricity or its hydrogen derivative abroad. Expect NW-European offshore wind industry like Vestas, Orsted (Dong), Siemens, SiF, Van Oord and many others to take over from big oil names like Gazprom, Exxon, Texaco, BP, Shell and many others. Or as president Gorbachev uses to say: He who comes too late is punished by life.
The good news is that in 2018 corporations are competing to develop offshore wind parks without a dime of subsidy, neither for the infrastructure nor for the kWh’s brought onshore. Paying market prices for kWh’s brought onshore is enough for them to be profitable. All the government has to do is allocate offshore locations and pay for the cables.
The only remaining challenge is storage, a considerable one, but manageable. It is likely that hydrogen from electrolysis is going to play a big role here.
17.5 GW nameplate power would mean 8.8 GW continuously or 64% or 2017 electricity demand. That would be enough to uphold a reasonable affluent society. It would be like living in 1980, albeit with electricity consuming devices (lights, television, fridges) that are far more energy efficient. But it is far more likely that by 2050 more than the current 13.7 GW average consumption will be brought onshore, providing electricity for trains and e-vehicles as well. The Dutch train system is already fully covered by wind. And here a calculation that you need merely 222 wind turbines of 6 MW each to power the entire Dutch personal car fleet.
According to new legislation, every home in the Netherlands needs to be energy neutral by 2030. No natural gas connection will be guaranteed for new homes. This requires solar panels, thermal collectors, heat pumps and thorough thermal insulation measures. It is ambitious but feasible.
[cbs.nl] – 2015-elektriciteit-in-nederland
[energynumbers.info] – Capacity factors Danish offshore wind farms
[noordzeeloket.nl] – Dutch plans North Sea Wind (map)
[rijksoverheid.nl] – Bedrijfsleven bereid zonder subsidie windpark op zee te bouwen
P.S. the goal of the Dutch government is to have 6 GW wind power installed onshore by 2020.
Sites with lower capacity factors may be deemed feasible for wind farms, for example the onshore 1 GW Fosen Vind which as of 2017 is under construction in Norway has a projected capacity factor of 39%. Certain onshore wind farms can reach capacity factors of over 60%, for example the 44 MW Eolo plant in Nicaragua had a net generation of 232.132 GWh in 2015, equivalent to a capacity factor of 60.2%, while U.S. annual capacity factors from 2013 through 2016 range from 32.2% to 34.7%.
Let’s assume a capacity factor of 50%, that would mean that another 3 GW continuously (including not yet installed storage) are added to the mix as early as 2020.
And then there is solar:
Summary: by the end of 2016 there was 2.0 GW peak Watt PV-solar installed, which translates in 800 MW power continuously. By the end of 2017 the installed power had increased with 40%. So we can assume 1.1 GW of PV-solar power. The government wants solar panels on every suitable roof and the public is picking up the signal. In every street there are at l east a few houses that have panels on the roof, which will impose the question on the laggards: “when us?”, just like with owning a car or having an internet connection. Nobody wants to stay behind and everybody wants to be “green”. One of the largest energy providers in the Netherlands Eneco believes that as early as 2030, 70% of renewable electricity can be covered by renewables.