69 OES Annual Report 2015 | THE NETHERLANDS | Ocean energy policy
Annual Report 2015
Country Reports


Jos Reijnders Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO)

On 10 September 2014, the Netherlands officially became a party to the OES with the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO.nl) as Contracting Party.

In the Netherlands, both the Government and commercial parties have been studying the potential of ocean energy since the 1980s. Business and other organizations have joined forces in a trade association called the EWA (Netherlands Energy from Water Agency). Pilots have been carried out in Dutch waters to test various ocean energy technologies. 

In the second half of 2014, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment commissioned a study into the export potential of Dutch companies involved with energy from water (short term potential; up until 2023), and the potential contribution this technology could make to the Netherlands’ energy transition over the long term (2035). The results formed the basis for talks on potential follow-up activities between the above mentioned ministries and the sector.


Currently, 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.

A spatial analysis of the potential of the North Sea with a view to 2050 has been made, also with regard to ocean energy. The North Sea Spatial Agenda was sent to the parliament on 28 July 2014 and 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 cm/sec. A further study was commissioned by the Ministries of Economical Affairs and Infrastructure and the Environment in 2014; that is to form the foundation for a targeted governmental vision on ocean energy. A separate study was commissioned by the working group on Offshore Wind to investigate the needs of the Dutch tidal and wave energy sector.

Although there is a central permitting system, in practice consenting requires engagement with a wide range of permitting bodies, such as the Central Government, province, municipality, Rijkswaterstaat, local harbour authorities, Ministry of Defence and the regional water board. There are currently no specific aspects relating to ocean energy that are the focus of new or improved legislation or regulations.

There are currently no specific market incentives for ocean energy. The Netherlands promotes use of space at sea from a perspective of inviting for developments. The generic DEI (Demonstration of Energy innovations) subsidy scheme supports projects with a focus on export of Dutch technology.

Since the 1990s the Ministry of Economical Affairs has initiated a number of grants via generic R&D instruments; these are also available for ocean energy research. Many projects have been supported in National funding programmes; Archimedes Wave Swing (for wave (swell) energy), Tocardo Tidal turbines, REDstack (salinity with reverse electro dialyses), BlueWater (tidal), BlueRise (OTEC), Teamwork technology (tidal, wave) and many R&D Institutions like; ECN, NIOZ, Wetsus, Imares, Deltares, Marin, TNO and the Universities.

At the moment, two projects have been granted in the DEI (Demonstration of Energy innovations) subsidy scheme; BlueTec and Tocardo-Huisman.


The marine spatial planning is focused on offshore wind, special areas have been appointed for offshore wind. There are no offshore ocean energy projects planned yet. In the future, cooperation with the existing offshore spatial planning is foreseen. All existing ocean energy demonstration projects are located close to the shore line and close to or in barriers, this does not affect existing marine spatial plans.

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 have been supported generously and erected quickly.


  • Den Oever – Tocardo; tidal currents up to 5 m/sec.
  • Grevelingen Barrier; low head tidal test centrum (planned)
  • Labschale test sites; Marin, TU Delft, Deltares, TNO, Wetsus, Imares, ECN