(OEM) The Dutch government has designated an area for what will become the world’s largest offshore hydrogen production project. That area is Ten noorden van de Waddeneilanden (the North of the Wadden Islands), identified earlier for offshore wind development and deemed most suitable for providing 500 MW of electrolysis capacity and for the transport of hydrogen to land.
The government announced on 20 March that it designated the offshore wind area for large-scale offshore hydrogen production since a wind farm at Ten noorden van de Waddeneilanden, offshore the Groningen province, was already planned for the production of electricity, an existing natural gas pipeline in its proximity could be reused for green hydrogen transport to land, and it can be properly connected to the onshore hydrogen network.
The project, which is said to mark the first application of offshore hydrogen production on a large scale, is planned to be operational around 2031.
Before any tenders are issued, the Ministry for Climate and Energy Policy will first work with the Groningen region, stakeholders in the Wadden Sea region and other stakeholders on matters such as the landfall of the pipeline to bring the hydrogen from the offshore wind farm ashore and environmental aspects of the project.
“We have already designated the area as a preferred location so that preparations can start quickly and we provide the sector with clarity so that they can make their investment plans. I am also very happy with the support we receive from local authorities. The province and the municipalities are fully committed to a green economy in which the production of sustainable energy is central”, said Rob Jetten, the Dutch Minister for Climate and Energy Policy.
The Ten noorden van de Waddeneilanden green hydrogen project will be the first that connects to Gasunie’s offshore hydrogen transport network, planned to be built to bring large quantities of hydrogen ashore and to connect to the onshore hydrogen network.
This follows the update from the government from December 2022, when Minister Jetten announced the intention to appoint Gasunie to develop an offshore hydrogen network in the North Sea to the House of Representatives.
This year, the government and Gasunie will work out the details of what the offshore hydrogen network should look like and how much the existing gas infrastructure in the North Sea would be feasible to be reused for hydrogen transport.
As a stepping stone to the 500 MW offshore green hydrogen project, the Dutch government will develop a smaller, pilot project with an electrolysis capacity of between 50 MW and 100 MW. The pilot will serve to test and modify the technology so that the large-scale project could be realised efficiently.
The location for the pilot project will be chosen later this year.
Ten noorden van de Waddeneilanden is one of the areas the government of the Netherlands identified last year for new offshore wind farms, which could bring up to 13.4 GW of combined capacity across nine sites.
In June 2022, the government released tendering timelines for the new projects, scheduling the tenders to be held between the second quarter of 2025 and the end of 2027.
The Ten noorden van de Waddeneilanden site, marked as having a potential capacity of 700 MW, will be auctioned off in 2026 or 2027, with a commissioning year set as 2031.