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Wind at Sea

By 2015, Wind energy, mainly generated in shore areas, will be used to generate huge amounts of green electricity. What possibilities does this provide for the port of Rotterdam?

 

Research

When current developments in wind energy production in the North Sea continue, it will potentially generate up to 70 gigawatts of energy for the Netherlands in the year 2050. That equals to 2.5 times the total current Dutch energy demand. How can we make use of this surplus of sustainable energy? What are the costs and benefits of various options, such as hydrogen production, and what is needed for successful realization?

This research assumes that in the year 2050 wind energy production in the North Sea generates 70 gigawatts of energy, and then asks the question: How can we use that energy? At the moment, only 7 gigawatts of energy are used in the Rotterdam port area. So even if the wind energy is being used to meet that energy demand, an enormous amount of energy remains.
One possibility would be to use the wind energy for the production of hydrogen or other energy carriers. Follow-up questions are, for example, whether this production takes place at sea or on the mainland, and what transport options are desired in each of these scenarios: cables, pipelines or ships?

Developments in wind energy
Production of wind energy at sea will increase significantly in the coming years. Network operator TenneT expects that in 2050 the wind energy production on the North Sea will deliver 70 gigawatts for the Netherlands to the public network. Already a balance point is reached, at which the price for wind energy and energy from fossil sources is equal (grid parity). The expectation is that the price of wind energy will fall further, while fossil energy prices will rise due to increasing scarcity.
In addition to the expected low price and abundant availability, wind energy is beneficial when it comes to independence: price and availability are not dependent on geopolitical developments.

Opportunities

  • New production methods – Use the 70 GW available to produce hydrogen through electrolysis. With the sustainably produced hydrogen, other basic chemicals can be produced. Thus, raw materials can be produced in a more sustainable way.
    Electrification of processes in the ports industrial complex, that are currently based on fossil raw materials (gas), becomes an option.
  • New Business Opportunities – The incredible amount of energy makes it convenient for energy-intensive industries (for example data centres) to settle in the port. The large supply of green energy creates strategic possibilities for the Port Industrial Complex strategic (e.g. all electric port, green business environment).
  • Opportunities for Rotterdam – Due to the unique combination of infrastructure, business and connections with the hinterland, Rotterdam’s port-industrial complex is ideally suited to exploiting wind energy yields for the Netherlands.

Challenges

  • Direction – There are still many variables, which makes choosing direction difficult.
  • Prioritizing – In order to prioritise the applications of the 70 GW, it is necessary to first identify possible applications and then to determine to what extent each of these applications is valuable (merit order).
  • Electrification – Which current processes can be electrified? Steam and heat production are obvious and are fairly simple. What else can we do?
  • Establishing new partnerships – Which companies can work together and get new, successful developments started?

Impact

  • Supply of sustainable energy throughout the entire Port Industrial Complex.
  • Production processes will be sustainable due to the use of sustainable hydrogen. Power-to-X.
  • Parties involved will aim for zero CO2 emissions in the Port Industrial Complex.

Partners

Deltalinqs, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Port Authority of Rotterdam, TNO, TU Delft, VoltaChem.

“For the companies in the port, Wind at Sea offers many opportunities. To be able to make our business processes mor sustainable, insight into the availability and price development of green electricity is crucial.”

Alice Krekt

Program director , Deltalinqs Energy Forum

Direct contact

More information

Contact our project developer Natalya Rijk for more information about these and other projects and how you can be part of the SmartPort Community.

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