Ventolines has been involved in a large number of wind farms, both on land and in the water, for many years. We provide services in all project stages: development, contracting, construction and operations.
Onshore wind energy is currently one of the cheapest and most efficient sources of sustainable energy and therefore indispensable in the energy transition. The Netherlands is already well on its way to becoming more and more sustainable, but if we look at the share of wind energy, there is still more than enough room for growth. Fortunately, the Dutch wind energy sector offers many opportunities for the realization of (new) wind energy projects on land. Ventolines has been involved in the development, construction and management of a large number of management of onshore wind farms. Think for example of the largest onshore wind farm in the Netherlands: Windplan Groen.
An offshore wind project differs greatly from a project on land. Working from the water imposes different requirements on project management, has a different risk profile and imposes stricter requirements on the assurance of safety. Our team has extensive experience with offshore wind projects both locally and abroad. This knowledge has been applied and extended with the development, construction and operational management of Westermeerwind and the construction supervision of the Block Island Wind Farm project, the first offshore wind farm in the United States. We are currently putting this further into practice with the realisation of the world’s largest offshore wind farm in a lake: Windpark Fryslân.
Assessment of Locations
It is important to assess whether a proposed site is suitable for a wind energy project and, if so, the potential project size. For example, landscape and ecological aspects and the existing infrastructure play an important role in this process. Furthermore, the local planning policies and the provincial and national planning policies are of great importance determining the possibilities.
Yield Calculations and Wind Farm Lay-out
In the early phases of a wind energy project, it is often difficult to accurately measure the wind resource. However, it is possible to offer a forecast of the expected annual output for the various turbine types and set-up variations to be examined, based on the overall wind resource. After the completion of the wind study, accurate yield calculations can be performed. A distinction should be made here between a P50 yield calculation, which returns the expected average yield, and a P90 yield calculation. The latter provides the yield that will be achieved on an annual basis with 90% certainty, and is particularly important for financing. A good wind study reduces uncertainties and thus results in a higher P90 yield. This brings down the cost and complexity of project financing. The P50 yield calculation is used to determine the SDE+ subsidy that can be requested for the project. Based on the location study and an analysis of the wind resources, a number of park designs can be prepared in order to examine various turbine types and set-up options. Depending on the wind resource, the turbine types must meet certain wind categories. The relative distance that must be maintained between the turbines depends for an important part on the rotor diameter. As such, it can be desirable to take into account the different possible arrangements in the park design, in which the distance between the turbines is different. This also takes into account the developments that can affect the future supply of turbine types. The park designs can serve as base alternatives that are examined in the MER.
State Coordination Regulation
For the development of wind farms > 100MW, the State coordination regulation exists. These types of large wind projects come with significant challenges, such as stakeholder management, ecological and ornithological effects, financing, grid connection and planning. Higher requirements are set for the quality of the project and professionalism of those working on the project. Ventolines has extensive experience in the realization of State coordination regulation projects, including for Westermeerwind Wind Farm, part of Noordoostpolder Wind Farm. This wind farm is located entirely in a Natura 2000 site, did not fit within the existing SDE categories, and is owned by local farmers. The wind farm has now been constructed, generates power and there is an opportunity available for the local community to financially participate in the project.
Financial feasibility of a wind energy project is examined through a financial model specifically developed for this purpose by Ventolines. Yield calculations are used as input for the expected revenues from the sale of electricity and the subsidy. Initially, the costs are calculated based on a number of assumptions. The costs for a wind turbine and the foundation, as well as the maintenance costs, vary per wind turbine product and turbine type. Location-specific conditions affect, for example, the grid connection cost and the land lease costs. The model output will become increasingly accurate by increasing the certainty and accuracy of model inputs, such as the final turbine type and cost, final layout and quotations for, for instance, balance of plant costs.
During the financing stage, sales process or purchase of project rights stage, it is important to carefully map out the financial feasibility and strength of a project, through an analysis of the permits and contracts. Open ends in a project can be identified and resolved. Ventolines can execute this trajectory and valuate the project, including an analysis of the (projected) cash flows.
Wind Assessments and Wind Measurement Campaigns
Analysis of the wind resource on- site is of great importance to determine the appropriate turbine type and set-up. Initially, this analysis can be carried out on the basis of existing wind measurements from nearby KNMI weather stations and/or production data from existing wind turbines in the area. This will provide an overall overview of the wind resource at the site of the proposed wind energy project. For further assessment, it is recommended to carry out a wind study. By carrying out on-site wind measurements with a measurement mast and/or Lidar (Ventolines owns 2 Lidars), the wind resource can be determined more accurately. A measurement campaign of several months to a year is usually sufficient to accurately determine the wind resource. A long-term reference, measurement data from the KNMI weather stations for instance, is used to correct the measurement data for seasonal effects and year-on-year variations. In this way, a multi-year average of the wind resource can be determined. The longer the measurement campaign the better the correlation of the measurements with the long-term reference, and the greater the certainty with which the wind resource can be determined. An accurate yield calculation is important for favourable financing conditions.
Noise and Shadow Flicker Assessments
Wind energy projects must meet certain legal standards for noise. For noise-sensitive objects, third-party properties for example, a maximum noise level for the Lden and Lnight noise levels. Lden, which stands for “Level day-evening-night”, is a weighted annual average for the noise level that assigns a heavier weight to noise in the evening and at night. Lnight is a separate standard for noise levels during the night time. A noise investigation is required to assess whether a set-up variation meets the noise standards. If an installation does not comply, then mitigating measures may be needed. This may mean that turbines need to be separated or be limited in their production. When the sun shines on the rotating blades of a wind turbine, this results in shadow flicker. If the shadow falls onto the window of a home, this can result in a nuisance indoors due to the alternation between shade and no shade. If for one or more “sensitive objects” there is a regular shadow flicker nuisance from wind turbines, these turbines must be stopped from the moment they start causing shadow flicker. A shadow flicker assessment is required to determine whether the planned wind farm meets the standards for shadow flicker. If the standard is not met, then the shadow flicker assessment will show at which times the turbines may have to be stopped to prevent shadow flicker from occurring.
Extension and/or Redevelopment
For owners of existing wind projects, it may become interesting over time to extend the project and/or to redevelop it with a new generation of wind turbines. Ventolines can assist clients in deciding on the right moment. In practice, an extension usually means an entirely new development trajectory. This sometimes comes with new demands around decommissioning and public participation. An extension/redevelopment trajectory in principle needs to go through the same steps as an entirely new project. Often, extensions/redevelopment can be carried out at pace, because the wind farm is already known in the area and by the authorities.
Power Purchase Agreement (PPA)
Any defects need to be resolved as quickly as possible. Ventolines can take care of the full repair process for the client, from the moment the defect occurs until the completion of the repair. By utilising our expertise, our client can devote their time and attention to other matters while assured of an optimal and efficient repair process. Activities include: contact with insurers, requesting repair proposals, and guiding the dismantling and the repair processes.
After all relevant contracts are signed, they are actively managed and monitored. Ventolines guards the quality of the work during the execution. This is achieved through close supervision during construction. In the event of different opinions on the execution, the contract prevails. Good supervision of the proper performance of all contractual provisions is of great importance not only to the owner, but also to the project funder. Unforeseen issues must be resolved and well recorded. Ventolines actsas the link between the clients and the contractors, the project owners and the lenders. The team at Ventolines has extensive experience managing contracts, both onshore and offshore.
The Netherlands wants to become substantially more sustainable. In addition to solar panels on roofs, wind farms and other energy sources such as geothermal energy, solar parks are also very much needed. Solar energy is a young, dynamic and strongly growing market in the Netherlands. Ventolines is growing along with this market and is currently involved in a large number of solar energy projects. Both solar energy projects on land and in water, solar energy projects in combination with wind energy projects, and solar and wind energy projects in combination with storage.
The transition to a sustainable and CO2-neutral energy system in the Netherlands is accelerating. However, we live in a densely populated country where available space is scarce. This is a key reason why the generation of sustainable power via solar panels on water surfaces is becoming increasingly important. Currently, several large-scale solar fields on sand mining lakes have already been developed and prove to be a successful solution. The next step in this development focuses on the larger waters and rivers of the Netherlands (named “Category 3”). Additionally, the development of floating solar on offshore sites (Category 4) is accelerating thanks to growing political support and resulting adjustments to the criteria for large scale offshore wind energy.
Ventolines has a portfolio of several floating solar energy projects on these larger waters and rivers. These projects are complex by nature and require innovative and technologically advanced solutions. Additionally, Ventolines actively participates in various research teams to improve the knowledge about the technological, environmental and legal aspects of floating solar energy.
Ventolines stands out as an independent consultant and fully integrated service provider and is not tied to specific technologies. This allows us to always choose the most suitable technology that meets the specific site requirements. Ventolines has extensive experience in the development of renewable energy projects onshore and offshore.
Landscape and Visual Design
A solar farm requires a relatively large area; in general about 1 – 2 hectares per MW generation capacity. Landscape and visual design is crucial for solar farms taking up a large land area. We work on the basis of (inter)national rules, guidelines and criteria, as well as national, provincial and local policies and guidelines. This ensures an appropriate balance between landscape character, visual receptors and the solar farm, for instance through locating smaller solar farms near smaller villages, and larger solar farms away from villages in the wider landscape. We use hedges and other visual protections measures where appropriate. This way, each specific project is designed in line with the unique locational aspects. Of course, this is ensured further through close liaison with all stakeholders including our clients, and the land owners.
Park Lay-out and Land Use
Ventolines strives to combine various land use options, to develop on land with low agricultural grade or a different land use designation, avoiding high grade agricultural land. We present various layout options to our clients with the aim to minimise the effect on agricultural land, such as the combined use of land for sheep grazing and electricity generation.
After all relevant contracts are signed, they are actively managed and monitored. Ventolines guards the quality of the work during the execution. This is achieved through close supervision during construction. In the event of different opinions on the execution, the contract prevails. Good supervision of the proper performance of all contractual provisions is of great importance not only to the owner, but also to the project funder. Unforeseen issues must be resolved and well recorded. Ventolines can act as the link between the clients and the contractors, the project owners and the lenders.
The strong growth in the number of renewable energy projects increases the demand for flexibility in the electricity system. As the generation of renewable energy is less controllable, differences between supply and demand arise and transmission bottlenecks in the electricity network increase. For you as a developer or owner of a renewable energy project, these challenges have direct consequences for your project under development or your existing portfolio. System integration offers a solution to these challenges and strengthens your project performance.
Through system integration, additional renewable energy production can be connected. For us, intelligent system integration is particularly fundamental to accelerating the energy transition. This offers interesting opportunities for project owners.
Ventolines has developed and implemented three concepts together with its clients. The preconditions of a renewable energy project determine which of the three concepts is applicable to you:
- Cable Pooling: two or more renewable energy projects of different owners share a grid connection.
- Energy Storage: large-scale MW+ batteries provide flexibility to the energy markets and balance the grid. Stand-alone or in combination with a wind or solar farm.
- GDS: a private grid, where several renewable energy projects together are large enough to finance a high-voltage connection. This requires an exemption from the ACM. This is called a closed distribution system (GDS).
System integration offers many advantages. The business case becomes more attractive for the project owner, provides flexibility to the energy market, creates space on the electricity grid and gives you the opportunity to develop more renewable energy projects. It is the next step towards a successful energy transition. Ventolines has experience with system integration projects for new and existing wind farms, solar parks and storage systems.
Cable pooling is the physical sharing of a grid connection to the electricity network by different parties. Cable pooling allows you to get more yield from a grid connection and creates space for more sustainable energy production.
Since June 2020, a change in the law has made it possible for wind parks and solar parks owned by different parties to use the same grid connection. The only condition is that the parks are located close to each other.
Since March 2018, it has also been possible to contract several energy suppliers to a connection (MLOEA). MLOEA thus offers project owners the opportunity to conclude their own power contract for, for example, a wind farm and a solar farm that share one connection.
By means of Cable Pooling, an existing wind park can make its grid connection available to new renewable energy projects under development. Or new projects under development that are located near each other can jointly apply for a grid connection from the grid manager. Your advantage? Cable Pooling allows you to get more out of your grid connection and also creates additional space for more sustainable energy production.
Solar parks with a rapid development time are particularly affected by grid shortages. In many areas, there will be no transport capacity available in the coming years. With Cable Pooling, the combination of a wind park and a solar park is ideal. The peaks from wind and sun are seldom simultaneous, which means that a grid connection is optimally utilised. It is therefore interesting to investigate whether your solar farm can be connected to an existing wind farm.
To make cable pooling possible, parties must make sound agreements with each other. In cooperation with industry organisations NWEA, Holland Solar and Energie Samen, Ventolines has developed a model Cable Pooling Agreement in which the parties agree on how the connection will be shared. This agreement is available and can be requested.
Our specialists are happy to use their experience in realising your cable pooling project.
Closed Distribution System (GDS)
For some projects, a closed distribution system (GDS) is the best solution. By means of an exemption from the Authority for the Consumer & Market (ACM), a private party is allowed to operate and manage its own network. Such a private network is called a GDS.
If no medium-voltage transport capacity is available on the regional grid, a direct connection to the high-voltage grid may be the solution. A high-voltage connection is expensive due to the voltage difference, but becomes affordable if various sustainable energy projects work together and share the connection. However, an entity that owns and manages the GDS has to be set up for this purpose.
Ventolines has extensive experience in developing, structuring, financing, contracting and building a GDS. We advised Windplan Groen in the complete realization of their own GDS, on which eight wind farms and one solar farm will be connected to the high-voltage grid.
Our specialists will be happy to use their experience in realising your GDS project.
Energy storage is an important link in the transition to more sustainable energy. The production from wind and solar parks is less controllable and predictable than conventional power stations.
A storage system can balance the electricity grid and provide flexibility to the energy markets. Moreover, it gives your company access to more flexibility on the energy markets to balance your renewable energy portfolio.
In combination with a wind or solar farm, a storage system provides additional return for the wind or solar farm owner. By storing energy during power peaks, the grid connection is optimised and a smaller grid connection is possible.
The business case of a storage system is complex and consists of multiple applications and services and requires a lot of knowledge of the technology and energy markets. The Ventolines team has gained experience with several large-scale storage projects with batteries ranging from 10 to 120 MWh. We are happy to put this experience to work for you. We can advise you in all phases of a project.
Our specialists are happy to put their experience to work on your energy storage project. If you have any questions about energy storage, please contact Rens Savenije.