Oil giant Shell, gas group Gasunie and Groningen’s port authority are joining forces to build a massive offshore wind farm and hydrogen plant in the northern province, Dutch media reported on Thursday.
The plan, dubbed NortH2, will be formally presented on Thursday afternoon but will, the companies say, be one of the ‘biggest renewable energy projects in the world’.
The project is still at the planning stage and definitive investment decisions still have to be taken.
A feasibility study will completed at the end of this year but the project will require government support, the Financieele Dagblad said. More partners may also be brought on board.
The electricity would be brought onshore at Eemshaven where it would be used to produce hydrogen for northern European industry and distributed via Gasunie’s current network.
The factory will have capacity to produce 800,000 tonnes of hydrogen a year. ‘Green hydrogen, produced via renewable sources such as wind and solar power, is central in the Dutch climate agreement and in the European Green Deal,’ the three companies say.
Hydrogen is widely used in industry but is currently mainly produced with gas.
Last October, Groningen hosted a major conference on developing a hydrogen based economy.
Economic affairs minister Erik Wiebes said at the time the region has everything it needs, including infrastructure (gas pipelines, deep-sea port), the space and the knowledge to make the transition to a hydrogen economy a reality.
The offshore wind farm will kick off with production of some three to four gigawatts by 2030, expanding to 10 gigawatts by 2040. This would be enough to supply 12.5 million households, or more than the total number of households in the Netherlands, the project group said.
Dutch offshore wind farms currently generate just under one gigawatt of power.
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