Before you can even think of constructing offshore wind farms, you need to assess potential sites to know whether a project will be feasible. In the Netherlands, the Government is responsible for this initial phase of offshore wind farm development. Dutch companies, research and knowledge institutes, and government agencies combined offer a great deal of knowledge on offshore wind development and site investigation.
There is much to consider - and a great amount of research to be done - in the initial feasibility assessment phase of any offshore wind project. Studies vary from wind analysis and geotechnical investigations to unexploded ordnances surveys. Site surveys are conducted by leading experts in their fields.
Site investigation centres around three core areas: potential obstructions, soil conditions, and the actual wind and water conditions. The main objective is to fully understand the potential for offshore wind development at any given location; including the cost and the total energy that may be generated.
The Dutch Approach
The Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO.nl) co-ordinates all site studies for the Dutch Offshore Wind Programme, ensuring they meet the highest industry standards. RVO.nl aims to provide developers with complete and high-quality site data to reduce risk and stimulate design optimisation. The ‘Dutch approach’ provides reassurance for project developers, increases investor confidence, and drives down overall costs.
RVO.nl offers data from site investigations to the market via an open online platform. The site information package has sufficient detail and quality to be used as input for preliminary engineering design studies. This enables companies, in the Dutch case, to prepare bids for the permit tenders.