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January 24, 2013

Going Dutch: Mitsubishi Joins Eneco in Netherlands Offshore Wind Project



Windmills are to Holland what chocolate is to Switzerland—national icons, embedded in the regional history and culture. The oldest mill in the Netherlands dates back to the eighth century—and there still are more than 1,000 windmills across the country’s level landscape.

However, the nation’s newest wind project will be located offshore, in the North Sea. Rotterdam-based Eneco Energie, which provides more than two million customers in the Netherlands with natural gas and electricity, and the Energy Business Group of Tokyo-based Mitsubishi (News - Alert) Corporation have agreed to jointly construct and operate the Luchterduinen Offshore Wind Farm, sited about 15 miles off the coast of Noordwijk,.

Mitsubishi will acquire 50 percent of the Luchterduinen project.  The two companies have also agreed to enter into a Long-Term Strategic Partnership Agreement for undertaking offshore wind activities throughout Europe.

At the Luchterduinen Offshore Wind Farm, 43 wind turbines will be installed and operated in a 10-square-mile area, approximately five times the size of Tokyo Disneyland. With commercial operations set to start around mid-2015, the wind farm is expected to generate approximately 130 megawatts (MW); or enough energy supply for 150,000 households. The cost of the project is estimated at between US$500 million and US$600 million.

The engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor on the project will be Van Oord, based in Rotterdam—which will be responsible for the monopoles, the foundations, the electrical infrastructure, the offshore transformer station and the installation of turbines. Van Oord also will supply the ship, Aeolus, which will be used to install the wind turbines. Construction will start in July 2014 and will be completed after the summer of 2015.

In addition, the two companies plan to work together on the Eneco-operated Prinses Amalia Windpark, some 15 miles offshore of Ijmuiden, a port city in the Dutch province of North Holland, which has been in operation since 2008—with 60 Vestas V80 wind turbines of 2 MW each, providing a total of 120 MW of capacity. Annual power production at this site is 435 gigawatt hours (GWh)—sufficient to power 125,000 homes and help the Netherlands cut 225,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions. The wind park originally was developed by Utrecht-based Econcern NVand Eneco Energie, at a cost of $522 million.

Through these activities the two companies share the Dutch government’s goal of reducing environmental impact, while at the same time contributing to securing a safe and sustainable supply of energy in the Netherlands.

Eneco has a lot of experience in the operation of offshore wind generation, and aims to provide “Sustainable Energy for Everyone.” Collaborating in the European offshore wind business with MC, which shares its high level of consciousness for the environment, will enhance Eneco’s ability to further promote business operations and energy supply that emphasize the sustainability of environmental resources.

Collaboration with Eneco allows MC to make a full-scale advancement into the wind generation business. Having designated “Infrastructure and Global Environment Businesses” as a strategic domain in its Midterm Corporate Strategy 2012, this long-term strategic partnership with Eneco in the area of offshore wind will reinforce MC’s efforts to develop renewable energy businesses.

In addition to the two offshore wind farms mentioned above, the Netherlands boasts the Egmond aan Zee Offshore Wind Farm, built in 2006. Also built in the North Sea, the farm comprises 36 Vestas V90 3MW turbines, totaling 108 MW, sufficient to light 100,000 houses. The project cost $272 million and is cooperatively owned by Royal Dutch Shell and the Dutch utility company Nuon.

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Edited by Brooke Neuman


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