Oil giant Shell and Dutch utility Eneco have won a tender to build a super-hybrid offshore wind farm in the Netherlands. It will consist of two sites located 11.5 miles (18.5 km) off the west coast, near the town of Egmond aan Zee.
The Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy selected the Shell/Eneco consortium, CrossWind, to build the Hollandse Kust (noord) project. CrossWind will pair the offshore wind farms with floating solar facilities and short-duration batteries. They will also generate green hydrogen via an electrolyzer, according to GreenTech Media.
Hollandse Kust (noord) is expected to be operational in 2023 with an installed capacity of 759 MW, generating at least 3.3 TWh per year.
Maarten Wetselaar, director of Shell Integrated Gas and New Energies, said:
Offshore wind will play a pivotal role in the worldwide energy transition. It will also be another important next step in our ambition to become a net-zero emissions energy business by 2050 or sooner, in step with society.
The Hollandse Kust (noord) is one of three offshore wind areas the Dutch government chose to develop by 2023. The Netherlands intends to reach around 11GW of installed offshore wind capacity by 2030.
Shell wants to reach net zero by 2050 by selling more green energy to reduce its carbon emissions, as Electrek reported in April. It wants to build a green hydrogen plant in Rotterdam, and the Hollandse Kust (noord) offshore wind project is part of that plan.
It also wants to use Hollandse Kust (noord) to power a 200-megawatt electrolyzer for one of its own refineries. That’s part of its larger plan to develop a number of green hydrogen plants on the Dutch coast to feed multiple refineries — this is its “transition” that Wetselaar refers to above.
And don’t underestimate the power of money — or lack thereof. Shell’s earnings report today was dire: The company’s profits plummeted 82% in the second quarter. Yet its CEO, Ben van Buerden, said, “I am very pleased that we have weathered what was probably the most difficult quarter in living memory very well.”
So if it wants to survive, it must reposition itself quickly, and this is what it’s doing here with this new offshore wind project and plans for green hydrogen. But a truly credible transition plan from Shell would mean that it stopped drilling for oil and gas entirely.
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