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About this column:

In a weekly column written alternately by Eveline van Zeeland, Eugene Franken, Katleen Gabriels, PG Kroeger, Maarten van Andel, Bernd Maier-Leppla, Willemijn Brouwer and Colinda de Beer, Innovation Origins tries to figure out what the future will look like. These columnists, sometimes joined by guest bloggers, are all working in their own way to find solutions to the problems of our time. You can find previous episodes here.

Government, media, and the energy industry publish fake news about renewable energy. The planned 21-gigawatt offshore wind power in 2030 is said to be 75 percent of the Dutch electricity consumption. That is true assuming that all this wind power can be used directly and comparing it with today’s electricity consumption.

But 21 gigawatt peak power at wind force 7 is much more than the average 14 gigawatts we presently need. And of course, all these wind turbines do nearly nothing at wind force 1. Throughout the year, their average power amounts to half their peak power, some 10 gigawatts.

Unacceptable perspective

With the significant variations between too much and nothing, we will have to store at least half of all this offshore wind energy into hydrogen. Half of that energy is lost in the process of hydrogen production, so that leaves a quarter. We then have 5 gigawatts for direct use plus 2.5 gigawatts via hydrogen, totaling 7.5 gigawatts. Comparing this with an estimated average consumption of 23 gigawatt in 2030 (much more than today, due to electrified driving, heating, and industrial processes) yields 35%, not 75%.

Apparently, the Counsel of State Advisors is aware of this fake news, with their conclusion that continuous electricity supply can no longer be guaranteed by 2030. That is undoubtedly an absurd and unacceptable perspective in one of the wealthiest countries in the world. You are forced to use an electric car, heat pump, and industrial process there. I regard withholding this grim perspective until now as fake news too.