Country Reports



The potential of ocean energy has been studied since the 80s and recently the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Ministry of Infrastructure have acknowledged the energy and export potential. Business and other organizations joined forces in a trade association called the EWA (Netherlands Energy from Water Agency).

The Netherlands does not have a national strategy for ocean energy and nor are there specific targets.

The ocean energy strategy is part of the national target of 16% renewables in 2023.

The marine spatial planning is focused on offshore wind, special areas have been appointed for offshore wind (3500 MW). There are no offshore ocean energy projects planned yet.

A spatial analysis of the potential of the North Sea with a view to 2050 has been made, with regard to offshore wind and ocean energy. The North Sea Spatial Agenda indicates a potential of up to 2000 MW of tidal current and wave energy to be possible, if techniques are developed further to fit the Dutch situation, with relatively low tidal heads and speeds.

Although in some cases there is fast flowing water of estuaries, and near barriers there are places with high speeds up to 5 m/sec.

Although there is a central permitting system, in practise consenting requires engagement with a wide range of permitting bodies such as central government, province, municipality, Rijkswaterstaat, local harbour authorities, ministry of defence and the regional water board.

The Netherlands’ Department of Waterways and Public Works (Rijkswaterstaat) supports initiatives to generate energy, but on the other hand is responsible for protecting the Netherlands from flooding from the North Sea. In general, the current projects were supported generously and erected quickly.

For 2018, the generic national subsidy scheme (SDE, stimulating renewable energy) has also been opened for tidal current, wave energy and free flow energy. The maximum subsidy for renewables has been reduced to €0,13/kWh, due to the decreased costs of offshore wind, which is considered as the benchmark.

In addition to the above mentioned feed-in tariff (OPEX subsidy), there are generic funding programmes (CAPEX subsidy) for all relevant types of renewable energy. The Ministry of Economic Affairs initiated a number of grants via generic R&D instruments; these are also available for ocean energy research. These programmes have a tender system in which projects compete with each other, and have a general condition that a cost reduction must be achieved by innovation.



In 2017, SeaQurrent started the developed of a tidal kite. The concept has been validated by independent universities and research institutes. The founders of SeaQurrent have a background in the offshore oil and gas industry, a pilot and demo is planned for the coming years.

The positive results in 2017 in the pilot plant of REDstack on the Afsluitdijk allow for scaling-up to a 1MW demo pilot plant. Together with four partners, a “Blue Energy deal” was signed in 2017 for this purpose. Blue Energy is energy generated from the difference in salinity between river water and sea water, for example at the point where a river naturally empties into the sea. Reverse Electro Dialysis (RED) is a salinity gradient power technology that makes use of two types of membranes: one allows only positive ions to pass through, and the other allows only negative ions to pass through. Electricity can be generated by arranging these two types of membranes in a RED stack.

The amount of energy generated is related to the difference in salt concentration of the two solutions – the larger the salinity difference between the two solutions, the more energy can be generated. Blue Energy generates energy without producing CO₂, is easy scalable, 24/7 available and the only “waste” product is brackish water. Blue Energy is a perfect candidate for base-load energy production and application in the energy-mix.



In 2017, Tocardo further tested their 1.25 MW tidal power plant in the Eastern Scheldt. Tocardo is now planning a 2 MW successor, also consisting of 5 separate turbines.



Main activities in the test sites during 2017:

  • Re-development of the Texel offshore open water test site in Marsdiep
  • Permitting and financing for the future Grevelingen Tidal Technology Centre
  • Development of the test site for Slow Mill off the coast of Texel
  • Development for a pilot Blue Energy plant in Katwijk (RED-Stack)


  • List of operational projects during 2017:
  • Tocardo Den Oever; tidal current, free flow
  • BlueWater Delft; tidal energy, free flow
  • REDstack Sneek; salinity gradient energy
  • Bluerise Delft; OTEC
  • Arteq Power Rotterdam; OTEC
  • Tocardo VAWT; tidal current, Vertical Axis Wave Rotor Technology
  • Tocardo 1,2 MW tidal plant in Eastern Scheldt Storm surge barrier
  • Tocardo 300 kWp tidal array in Afsluitdijk in the Stevin Sluizen
  • RED-Stack pilot for Reverse Electro-Dialysis on Afsluitdijk

Led by Tocardo, the project brings together Orkney based companies EMEC and Leask Marine, and French research institute IFREMER. Tocardo has already been working with international shipyard DAMEN, as well as Leask Marine, Bryan J Rendall Electrical and Aquatera in Orkney for the system deployment. The floating tidal device was successfully moored and connected via subsea cables to the substation at EMEC’s Fall of Warness grid-connected tidal test site in Orkney in May 2017. Tocardo’s EMEC installation is part of the InToTidal project, supported by European Commission’s funding program Horizon 2020 with €2 million. The platform was first deployed off Texel island in the Netherlands in 2015. It was originally equipped with Tocardo’s T1 turbine that had the capacity of 100 kW, which was later replaced by T2 turbine, doubling its capacity.