The North Sea Energy Program
The international society faces the important challenge to implement the Paris Agreement to substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limit global temperature increase. A transition to a new energy system is needed, i.e. shifting towards renewable energy sources, and making more efficient and responsible use of energy. In this spirit, the Dutch ‘’Energieakkoord’’ prescribes 14% of renewable energy by 2020, with a further increase towards 16% in 2023. Offshore sustainable energy, most dominantly offshore wind, will have an important contribution to the accelerated growth of the sustainable energy supply of the Netherlands.
The North Sea is an important area where this energy transition takes place. The Netherlands is currently experiencing a strong ramp-up of offshore wind energy construction activities in the North Sea. Next to wind energy the North Sea hosts several important (economic) activities, including oil and gas production, fisheries, sand and shell extraction, shipping, areas for military use, nature reserves, and recreational activities. The area thus has an important economic and environmental function for the Netherlands’ economy. The energy transition can be accelerated by making use of synergies between different functions , e.g. between offshore fossil and renewable energy activities, and competition of use and negative trade-offs should be minimized. Synergies may especially apply in the energy domain, for instance if different sectors like the offshore wind energy sector and offshore oil and gas sector combine their infrastructure(s), services, human capital, products and knowledge.
The next steps encompass the further development of the Innovation Program North Sea Energy and creating a community of participating companies and research organizations. Based on different stakeholder workshops we have identified the most relevant short-term research topics that will be addressed in the Innovation Project. The ambition is to realize a national innovation platform which brings together the current initiatives on system integration in the North Sea.
This Innovation Project has clear goals focussing on gathering and developing specific knowledge on offshore system integration:
The final and foremost goal of the project is:
The North Sea is an important area where energy transition takes place. The Netherlands is currently experiencing a strong ramp-up of offshore wind energy construction activities in the North Sea. The energy transition can be accelerated by making use of synergies between different functions. Synergies may especially apply in the energy domain, for instance if different sectors like the offshore wind energy sector and offshore oil and gas sector combine their infrastructure(s), services, human capital, products and knowledge.
Development of a number of offshore wind farm areas in Hollandse Kust (e.g. Helm, West and Rijn) and for the first very large and far offshore development zone, IJmuiden Ver, is ongoing. Due to their sizes and locations these windfarm areas might be very suitable for offshore system integration as these areas are also close to activities related to oil and gas production and transport. Specifically, there is a need to work in high pace towards concrete business cases and demonstrations/pilots for system integration.
In this project we will provide a short list and evaluation of demonstration concepts and locations for a hybrid and integrated energy supply from offshore wind farms and gas/oil production infrastructure near the to-be developed areas of IJmuiden Ver and Hollandse Kust (e.g. West, Rijn and Helm area) which are economically viable and facilitate accelerated integration of large-scale renewables.
The wind farm development areas IJmuiden Ver and Hollandse Kust (HK) - with a foreseen focus on HK areas HK West, HK Rijn and HK Helm - will serve as case study areas to examine the technical, economic, environmental and regulatory challenges of demonstrating offshore system integration concepts in detail and provide offshore stakeholders with guidelines relating to these challenges to ease demonstration and implementation of system integration options within 5 years.
Development of offshore wind is seen as one of the main growth areas to increase the portion of sustainable energy in the energy mix. Due to decreasing costs of wind energy and the success of the current tendering system for concession application, there is growing interest in acceleration of offshore wind deployment from 2023 onwards. This leads to an earlier than expected spatial planning challenge as a result of strong use of the North Sea area for coastal protection, food security, energy production, shipping and defense purposes.
Large part of the North Sea is currently used for energy production from oil and gas assets with corresponding infrastructure (150 platforms and ~3000 km pipelines). To facilitate the future growth of offshore wind, we need to start thinking about multiple-use of the available space, synergies with other (energy) functions and re-use of infrastructure.
Offshore oil and gas infrastructure is currently planned to be decommissioned and removed in a few years when no action is taken. This leads to a short window of opportunity to study the potential for system integration options in the North Sea, where amongst others synergies between existing oil and gas infrastructure and offshore wind infrastructure will be considered.
The goal of the project is to jointly with key stakeholders develop a vision and decision-based roadmap for system integration in the North Sea. This vision and roadmap will serve as input for the Energy Agenda 2023-2030, which is currently being developed, and will be a guidance to stakeholders in the field to make needed decisions and take the right actions in further development of sustainable, affordable and reliable energy supply in the North Sea.
The vision and roadmap will be developed as a joint effort by key stakeholders in the field of system integration including representatives of the government, oil and gas operators, wind operators and branch organizations. The process will be powered by TNO from a content point of view, and the process of development will be guided by strategists from the Quantum Company.
The vision and roadmap will be delivered to the Ministry of Economic Affairs before the end of 2017 to make sure that the input can be used in the setup of the Energy Agenda 2023-2030. In the first quarter of 2018, the results will be published in a paper to the general public.