Dutch focus on offshore wind helps to reduce carbon footprint

Dutch renewable energy figures received a bump in May thanks to the completion of a new 600 MW offshore wind farm in the North Sea.

The Gemini wind farm, situated off the north coast of the Netherlands, is reckoned to be one of the world’s largest offshore wind projects with 150 individual turbines spaced over a 25 square mile stretch of the North Sea.

In fact, the wind farm is split evenly across two locations in close proximity to each other, hence the name Gemini, which means twins.

Gemini Wind Farm in the Dutch North Sea

Impressively, the project was finished both under budget and ahead of schedule, despite presenting some unique challenges to the consortium of companies who were financing the project.

Construction began in 2015, and while the wind farm began to come online in October of 2016, there was still work required before completion.

Due to the installation’s distance from the Dutch mainland – the wind farm sits more than 50 miles out to sea and is not visible from the shore – there were logistical challenges throughout the project.

Read more: Dutch trains powered by wind energy

One such challenge included the laying of almost 140 miles of cable. Because the wind turbines are located offshore, transporting the generated energy back to the mainland can be challenging. This video illustrates the process of building the wind farm:

The wind turbines generate their energy, which is fed to two separate, offshore high-voltage sub-stations. Each of these sub-stations, thanks to the 140m of export cable, is connected to the Dutch electrical grid via Eemshaven, a port near Groningen, where an onshore electrical station receives the renewably-generated electricity from the wind farm.

Read more: Why the Internet of Things will change the energy industry

However, the wind farm will benefit from consistently high wind speeds in this stretch of the North Sea, where the wind speeds are at their highest and most constant, averaging 22mph. You can track Gemini’s live performance with this widget.

The Gemini wind farm is expected to provide energy to almost 800,000 Dutch homes. The electricity generated at the wind farm will account for about 13% of national renewable energy and 25% of the Dutch wind energy, and it is also expected to reduce the Netherland’s carbon footprint by 1.25 million tons; this is a significant step towards the targets set out by the government of the Netherlands, which is aiming for a 40% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030.

The Gemini wind farm in figures

600 megawatt production capacity – generating 2.6 TWh of electricity per year

150 turbines, and 450 turbine blades – each one weighing 18 tonnes, and spinning 5-13 times per minute

1347 tonnes – the total weight of the heaviest installed turbine

53 miles from the Groningen coast – in 25 square miles of the North Sea, with an average wind speed of 22mph

1.25 million ton reduction in CO₂ emissions per year

500 local jobs created during construction

88.5 metres – height of the turbine hub above sea level

140 miles of export cable from the offshore sub-stations to the onshore station

Wind power is just one source of renewable energy that can help contribute to a low-carbon future. To learn more about other sources that can keep us sustainable (even when the wind isn’t blowing), see our ultimate guide to renewable energy types.