For Invest-NL, Common Futures analysed the integration of wave energy and floating solar at wind parks in the North Sea. We identified trends challenges and opportunities through interviews with actors throughout the value chain, supplemented by literature research. In doing so, we determined how Invest-NL can best support these sectors.


Not only did these findings deliver the tools needed for Invest-NL to create an appropriate investment climate, but the floating solar and wave energy sectors also confirmed that the insights will help them to attract investment. This work is particularly important in light of offshore wind developments in the Netherlands, where we have seen 50 MW offshore solar floating being requested in the recent Ijmuiden Ver Beta bid.


Higher economic costs of floating solar and wave energy

Wave energy and floating solar are not yet competitive with offshore wind, onshore wind and solar. Developers expect floating solar to have competitive generation costs (LCOE) with offshore wind in 5 to 10 years, and wave energy in over 10 years. However, when integrated into an offshore wind farm, part of the generated energy may have to be curtailed, increasing the final cost price per landed kWh. It is therefore important to consider the value of the supplied electricity for the energy system. The integration of wave energy and floating solar also involves energetic, spatial, ecological and technology export aspects.


More efficient use of existing infrastructure

An advantage of extra generation at sea is that existing infrastructure can be better utilised. For wave energy or offshore solar installed within a wind farm, the energy can be brought ashore during the hours which the wind farm is not operating at full capacity. In the future, much of the landed electricity can also be used at the industrial clusters on the coast, meaning that additional generation at sea can potentially reduce congestion on land. Due to the fact that waves are correlated to wind, it is more logical to add offshore solar to a wind farm than wave energy.


Spatial and energetic value of floating solar and wave energy

Energy from offshore solar is largely generated during hours with little wind, but will generally come ashore when a lot of onshore solar energy is being generated as well. Therefore, floating solar can be seen as an alternative to solar on land, saving on the use of scarce land onshore.


A potential frontrunner position for Dutch developers

In the emerging market for offshore solar and wave power, Dutch technology developers are at the forefront. If the Netherlands wants them to become major players in the global market, an optimal playing field will have to be created to facilitate further pilots, innovations and upscaling.


Actions to scale up offshore solar and wave power include adjustments to the legislative framework, connecting available offshore test sites to the grid, including the technologies in future tenders for offshore wind farms, and developing a framework to facilitate joint use of the capacity for electricity transmission to land.

Our gratitude and appreciation to the team at Common Futures who have processed an enormous amount of information and insights into a readable and valuable report. Eva Ferrier Business development manager, Invest-NL