APG sets up Noordzeker consortium to develop offshore wind farms

Published on: 15 November 2022

For the first time, APG aims to participate in the development of a large offshore windfarm from scratch. Noordzeker, a consortium that is being created on behalf of ABP, is preparing a bid on up to four lots in the North Sea.  

A huge windfarm will be developed off the coast of IJmuiden (Netherlands) as part of the Dutch government’s ambition to massively expand offshore wind energy. IJmuiden Ver (IJVER) will be divided into four lots, which are to collectively generate 4 gigawatt (GW) of clean electricity – enough to power more than 5 million households. In line with ABP’s ambition to invest in the Dutch energy transition, APG is setting up a consortium to participate in the tender and play a leading role in the further development of North Sea wind energy.

New approach

 “We have of course invested in wind energy before, both on land and offshore, also in the Netherlands,” says Bart Saenen, Senior Portfoliomanager Infrastructure. “But this will be the first time we will be participating in all phases – tender, development, construction and operation – of an offshore project. To this end, we are teaming up with a leading renewable energy developer. We are excited to take on a prominent role in realizing the Netherlands’ offshore wind energy ambitions on behalf of ABP and its beneficiaries.”

The Dutch government recently announced plans to massively expand wind energy production on the North Sea. In 2030, North Sea wind should supply 21 GW or about 75 per cent of current Dutch electricity consumption and this is scheduled to grow to approximately 70 GW by 2050. Prospective sites for the development of windfarms are to be auctioned in stages – with the IJVER lots up for auction in 2023. Tender conditions incorporate both a financial component and qualitative criteria relating to, among other things, system integration and ecology.

Spur innovation

“The Dutch government wants to spur innovation to find and scale-up solutions for system integration and to tackle ecological challenges,” Bart says. “Building a windfarm is one thing but we also need to balance the supply of and demand for wind energy, for instance by integrating battery storage and using hydrogen as an energy carrier. The construction and operation of windfarms also impacts bird and marine life. Noordzeker will work with Dutch research institutes, universities and environmental organizations to find ways to reduce negative impacts and even strengthen eco-systems.”

The competition is likely to consist of large windfarm developers, energy utilities and oil & gas companies. “The Dutch government has announced that qualitative criteria on system integration and ecology will  play an important role in the tender process,” Bart explains. “Together with our partners in Noordzeker we will be able to make a unique offer based on our long-term commitment to the Dutch energy transition and North Sea offshore wind, our successful track-record of building strong long-term partnerships and APG and ABP’s firm roots in Dutch society.”

Financial and societal returns

Investing in the development of North Sea windfarms is expected to provide good and stable returns for ABP’s participants – especially since we are investing for the very long term. And it provides important societal benefits, as ABP also points out. “We invest Dutch pension assets and combine forces with Dutch and European companies to enable offshore energy production. We thus contribute to a reliable and sustainable energy supply for Dutch households and companies. That is good for the pensions, our climate, energy security and employment.”   

Interested parties need to submit their bids by the end of 2023 and selection is expected to take place in 2024.