Supporting Policies for Ocean Energy


In 2020, a reconnaissance study was carried out to determine the possible contribution of marine energy to the Dutch ‘energy transition’. The study also included an assessment of the export potential of the Dutch technology developers. Together with research institutes, governments, the marine energy sector and individual developers the possible potential was inventoried. 

The Netherlands has a national target of 16% renewables in 2023 and a 49% overall CO2 reduction target in 2030. There is no specific target for ocean energy. The marine spatial planning is focused on offshore wind, special areas have been appointed for offshore wind (3500 MW).

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. There are no commercial offshore ocean energy projects planned yet.
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, The Netherlands’ Department of Waterways and Public Works (Rijkswaterstaat), local harbour authorities, ministry of defence and the regional water board. Rijkswaterstaat supports initiatives to generate energy while ensuring safety of its waterworks  protecting the Netherlands from flooding from the North Sea.


In 2021, the generic national subsidy scheme (SDE, stimulating renewable energy) will continue for tidal current, salinity gradient and free flow energy.  The maximum subsidy for renewables is limited to € 0,13/kWh, due to the decreased costs of offshore wind, which is considered as the benchmark.

Business, research institutes and other organizations joined forces in DMEC, the Dutch Marine Energy Centre. DMEC collaborates with clients in various market segments to identify, explore and realise tailored solutions using innovative ocean energy technologies.


In addition to the feed-in tariff (OPEX subsidy) mentioned above, there are generic funding programmes (CAPEX subsidy) for all relevant types of renewable energy. The Ministry of Economical 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.

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