Wind energy capacity, 1990-2016

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Dutch wind energy capacity increased by 20 percent in 2016, bringing the total capacity to 4,257 megawatts.

Wind capacity increased in 2016

Capacity of Dutch wind turbines increased by 866 megawatts in 2016 to 4,257 megawatts. This expansion was realised mainly by finishing some large wind farms on land and at sea. On land capacity rose from 3,034 megawatts to 3,300 megawatts; at sea from 357 to 957 megawatts.

Subsidies crucial for new wind turbines

Electricity production from wind energy is still more expensive than from natural gas, coal or nuclear energy. Subsidies for wind energy are therefore crucial to investors in wind turbines. Wind turbine owners received 514 million euros in subsidies for electricity production in 2016.

Most wind turbines in Flevoland

Looking at the distribution of wind turbines on land, it is clear that most are located in the coastal provinces. This is not surprising, given the fact that the wind blows more frequently in coastal areas. However, the wind resource is not the only factor to be taken into consideration in the positioning of wind turbines. Ideas about the way in which they fit into the surrounding landscape also play an important part and this explains why, despite the fact that it is not the most suitable province in terms of wind resource, most wind turbines are found in the province of Flevoland.

Plans for onshore wind turbines

The Dutch government has projected an overall onshore wind capacity of 6,000 megawatts for 2020, including existing wind turbines. In June 2013, an agreement was reached about the distribution of the 6,000 MW across the Dutch provinces. Permits are granted at the provincial level. The national government is responsible for subsidies.

Offshore wind farms

The first offshore wind farm became operational in 2006. The second followed in 2008. In 2015 a third offshore wind farm has becoming operational (Luchterduinen with a capacity of 129 MW). Together, these three wind farms account for about 15 percent of the total wind capacity. North of the West-Frisian islands of Schiermonnikoog and Ameland, the construction of two more wind farms (Gemini, with an overall capacity of 600 megawatts) became realised in 2016.
Offshore wind turbines produce more electricity per unit capacity than onshore wind turbines. However, offshore wind turbines are much more expensive. All in all, therefore, electricity generated from offshore wind turbines is more expensive than that from onshore wind turbines (Lensink, 2013). However, a tender for the new wind farms at sea near Borssele shows that expenses for offshore wind turbines will be declining soon.

Plans for offshore wind farms

The Dutch Energy Agreement (SER, 2013) includes an ambitious objective with respect to offshore wind farms of a planned total of 4,450 megawatts in 2023. This means that an extra subsidy to fund offshore wind farms with an overall capacity of 3,450 megawatts must be granted. In the Energy Agreement, cost reduction for offshore wind farm projects is essential. As cost reduction seems to succeed in 2016 a tender procedure was launched so that more offshore sea turbines near Borssele are planned to become operative halfway 2020.


Technical explanation

Naam van het gegeven
Verantwoordelijk instituut
Geografische verdeling

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Reference of this webpage

CBS, PBL, RIVM, WUR (2024). Wind energy capacity, 1990-2016 (indicator 0386, version 25,

) Statistics Netherlands (CBS), The Hague; PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, The Hague; RIVM National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven; and Wageningen University and Research, Wageningen.