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Netherlands completes first offshore substation

Last Thursday, September 5, the Dutch government announced that the first of five offshore substations, known as “sockets”, had been completed.

In the government proposal for wind power on the southern Holland coast, it says that in order to promote economies of scale:

“TenneT will construct five standardised substation platforms, each with a capacity of 700 MW. These platforms will be connected to the national Extra High Voltage grid with two 220 kV export cables per platform. Two platforms, alpha and beta, within one WFZ will be connected via a 66 kV link.”

The first substation, Borssele Alpha, will take up to 700 MW of power at 66 kV from surrounding wind farms and transform it to 220 kV, after which it can be transported to land and integrated into the electricity grid.

The Netherlands currently only has about 1 GW of installed offshore capacity, with 15% of the country’s power coming from renewables in general, such as wind, biomass, and solar. The drive towards renewables is particularly relevant in the light of Shell and ExxonMobil, the maker of Mobil DTE Light, winding down production at the Groningen natural gas field with a view to a complete stop in 2030.

To meet the Dutch government’s renewable energy targets, from 2020, wind capacity is expected to expand rapidly by 1.5 GW as more wind turbines come online around the new substation platforms. An additional 1 GW or so per year is then expected in the 10 years following 2022.

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