Dutch government plans 100 MW floating PV project at dredging spoil depot

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A contaminated water basin at the Maasvlakte – an artificial extension of the Europoort industrial facility at the port of Rotterdam – may host a giant floating solar project.

Netherlands water management agency the Rijkswaterstaat – part of the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment – said it has started market consultation for the tendering of a 100 MW project named Zon op de Slufter with government real estate agency the Rijksvastgoedbedrijf and the port of Rotterdam.

The plant would be on the “slufter” dredging spoil depot, which has a 250-hectare surface. The agency added, the floating plant would not disrupt the primary function of the basin, which is spoil storage.

“The ambition is to start the tender procedure for the project at the beginning of 2020, depending on the results of a feasibility study that is currently taking place,” the agency wrote in a project announcement.

The floating PV tide

The facility would be part of the Hernieuwbare energie op Rijks(waterstaat)-areaal program, launched by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) and the Rijkswaterstaat in March. The main goal of the program is to make surfaces available for ground-mounted and floating PV.

The program has four pilot projects, including the 100 MW floating solar scheme, plus three more projects for solar noise barriers along Dutch highways.

In January 2018, the RVO agreed to back a new Dutch consortium whose goal is to develop the flexible design of floating solar panels on inland waters and make optimal use of the available water surface area. The consortium was formed by the Energy Research Center of the Netherlands (ECN); the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research; the Maritime Research Institute Netherlands; Abu Dhabi National Energy Company PJSC (TAQA); and Oceans of Energy, a Dutch startup specializing in the development of floating systems for renewable energy at sea.

Water-borne projects taking shape

In late February, the Dutch Foundation for Applied Water Research published guidelines and tools for developers interested in floating PV projects across the water-rich Netherlands.

Earlier this month, Dutch developer Groenleven unveiled a plan to build a 48 MW floating installation at a depleted sand extraction site near Emmen, in Drenthe province.

The country’s first floating solar project was announced in September 2017.