Scottish and Southern Energy plc (SSE), through its renewables development division, Airtricity Holdings Limited (Airtricity), has obtained consent from the Dutch Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management for construction of the offshore wind farm West-Rijn. The wind farm consists of up to 72 wind turbines with a total potential energy capacity of around 260 megawatts (MW). It is located 40 kilometres off the Dutch North Sea coast, around 90 kilometres from the city of Rotterdam.

‘West-Rijn’ once constructed, will make a major contribution to the Dutch national target of 6,000MW of offshore wind capacity by 2020.

The focus will now be on the final phase of the development process, securing financial support from the Dutch government through its renewables support mechanism (SDE).

Paul Dowling, chief executive of Airtricity said “This is a major achievement for SSE in particular and for the Dutch wind energy industry in general, being the first offshore wind farm to be consented in the Netherlands for almost seven years. The Dutch market is an important new area for SSE’s renewable development team and ‘West Rijn’ is the first in a number of projects which will give us the opportunity to become the leading offshore wind developer in The Netherlands.”

SSE has 3,500 MW of renewable energy capacity (onshore wind, offshore wind, hydro and dedicated biomass) in operation, under construction or with consent in the UK and Ireland. Its target is to have 4,000 MW in operation in the UK and Ireland by the end of 2013. It also has consent for a 300 MW offshore wind farm in Germany and is actively developing further offshore wind farms in the Netherlands and Germany and onshore wind farms in Italy, Portugal and Sweden.