Saturday, June 11, 2005

Dutch Offshore Wind Project Approved

First Dutch Offshore Wind Project Gains Approval
June 10, 2005

Amsterdam, The Netherlands [] Shell and Dutch energy company Nuon have signed the final contracts for their joint collaboration of the first Dutch offshore wind farm, located at Egmond aan Zee, 10 miles outside the Dutch coast.

"As a learning project this wind farm is important for the Netherlands and the whole offshore industry."

- Rein Willems, President of Shell Nederland. NoordzeeWind (a 50/50 joint venture between Shell and Nuon) awarded the construction contract to Bouwcombinatie Egmond, a joint venture between Dutch offshore contractor Ballast Nedam and Danish wind-turbine manufacturer Vestas.

Thirty-six wind turbines with an overall capacity of 108 MW will be constructed 10 kM off the coast of Egmond aan Zee (the Netherlands). On a yearly basis, the wind turbines will generate enough electricity to meet the needs of more than 100,000 Dutch households. From the end of 2006, the wind farm will start generating sustainable energy, which Nuon will supply to the Dutch market. The project involves an investment in excess of EURO 200 million (USD $242 million).

The project is accompanied by a comprehensive research program designed to increase knowledge about offshore wind energy. This will study the effects on both nature and the environment, as well as the technical aspects, such as turbine behavior and integration into the electricity grid. This will help to increase expertise for the construction of larger wind farms further out to sea.

"As a learning project this wind farm is important for the Netherlands and the whole offshore industry," said Rein Willems, President of Shell Nederland. "While Government subsidies remain critical for any industry in the early stages, the investment will bring economic competitiveness that much closer. And so the knowledge and experience we accumulate in this project will play a key role in making the ever increasing demand for energy even more sustainable."

The Dutch government is supporting the project financially under the Electricity Production (Environmental Quality) Act (MEP) along with a subsidy under the Ministry of Economic Affairs' CO2 Reduction Plan. Finally, the Energy Investment Incentive facility (EIA) (a tax allowance) also applies.

"The construction of the wind farm is fully in line with Nuon's policy to make the energy supply more sustainable and to expand energy production in its core countries of the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany," said Ludo van Halderen, Chief Executive Officer of Nuon. "The wind farm off the coast of Egmond aan Zee offers a new opportunity for Dutch customers to access sustainable energy harnessed here in the Netherlands."

The initial construction work is planned at the end of 2005 with the installation of power cables between the grid connection point at Velsen and the wind farm's own transformer substation located on a site near the shore owned by Corus. The foundation piles of the wind turbines will be driven into the seabed during the spring of 2006, after which the wind turbines will be installed. Specialized ships will be used for this work.