On 1 July 2016, the Minister of Economic Affairs and the Minister of Infrastructure and Environment designated new wind energy areas within the 12-mile zone, through a draft partial revision of the Dutch National Water Plan 2016-2021.

The National Water Plan contains the general outlines, principles and direction of the Dutch water policy and the related aspects of spatial policy. In the old National Water Plan 2009-2015 - and continuing in the current National Water Plan - the areas of BorsseleIJmuiden VerCoast of Holland and North of the Wadden Islands were designated for the establishment of wind farms. These are all areas in the Dutch economic exclusive zone, beyond the 12-mile zone. Despite informal plans, the current National Water Plan 2016-2012 had not yet formally designated wind farm areas within the 12-mile zone.

Generally, the costs of offshore wind energy increase as wind energy areas are situated further from the coast, due to larger distances to ports, termination points of the electricity grid, and increasing water depths. The designation of wind energy areas at sea within the 12-mile zone (near shore) contributes to the realisation of the 2023 target of 4.450 MW wind power generation at sea, at the lowest possible cost, in accordance with the Dutch Energy Accord.

The Ministers have thus decided to expand the existing wind farm areas Hollandse Kust, North and South, with two strips of 10-12 Nautical Miles from the coast, thereby enabling spatial and more cost-effective use of the area. Upon designation of such new wind energy areas, Hollandse Kust South will have a capacity of 1.400 MW and Hollandse Kust North will have a capacity of 700 MW. 

Objections against the draft partial revision of the Dutch National Water Plan 2016-2021 and other views may be submitted from 19 August 2016 until 29 September 2016. A final decision will subsequently follow at the end of this year, so that the near shore-areas may be developed from 2018 onwards.

Amendment site decisions Borssele

In May 2016, the site decisions for Borssele wind farm sites III, IV and V (innovation site) became irrevocable (onherroepelijk), as no party lodged an appeal against the site decisions with the Dutch Council of State (Raad van State). However, the site decisions contained errors in terms of geographical coordinates of the wind farm areas. The Minister of Economic Affairs and the Minister of Infrastructure and Environment issued an amendment decision to remedy such errors, pursuant to the Act Wind Energy at Sea (Wet windenergie op zee).

The draft amendment for Borssele wind farm site decisions III, IV and V is now open for the filing of objections. Objections may be filed until 11 August 2016. Only interested parties (belanghebbenden) that have filed an objection against the amendments may lodge an appeal within six weeks with the Council of State. If no objections have been filed within such period, the amendments will become irrevocable.

The second tender, Borssele Wind Farm Sites III (350 MW) and IV (350 MW), is expected to open in August 2016 and will close in September 2016.