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Should pension funds get involved in these kinds of projects?
To finance the transition towards renewable energy, funds are needed. Pension funds are responsible for providing their participants with the best financial benefits. However, we all bear responsibility for creating a livable society. By investing in renewable energy projects, we create good long-term financial returns while also contributing to a sustainable future for one of our most important ‘shareholders’: society. Offshore wind farms are an option that can provide promising and stable financial returns.
What risks does this project create for the average pensioner?
When there is no wind, no wind energy can be produced. If there is too much wind, more energy than needed will be generated. Consequently, the biggest risk associated with this project is that fluctuation in the price of energy. To combat this, we are looking into innovative ways to store energy. In addition, we are not investing in Noordzeker for the short term, but for the long term. As we are looking at the effect of the project over severaldecades, year-to-year price variations have little to no effect on the average financial return and therefore on our participants' pensions. Lastly, long-term contracts result in more stable long-term prices for customers.
Why is ABP investing in offshore wind energy?
Offshore wind energy has a lower cost per unit of energy generated than wind energy on land. Although building a wind farm at sea is more expensive than building it on land, winds are stronger and more frequent at sea, lowering the cost per kWh. To lower dependency on fossil fuels and the countries they are extracted from, scaling up on offshore wind offers is necessary. 
What are the risks for ABP to get into this project?
ABP risks tenders being overpaid, the price of energy being unpredictable, and the supply for energy exceeding demand. The IJmuiden Ver (IJVER) tenders also have a maximum bid price, which is the same for every bidder. 

Important criteria that are considered in the tender are ecology, system integration, international corporate social responsibility and circularity. Noordzeker is making maximum efforts to innovate on these selection criteria. 

While the demand for energy is increasing, there is still a long way to go before renewable energy has replaced other non-renewable energy sources. To aid this transition, we will work intensively with partners in the areas of circularity and storage. ABP is interested in long-term stability, making us less susceptible to today’s price fluctuations. Lastly, the risk profile for the bid is lowered as the permits for IJVER are fully arranged when the bid is submitted.
How much energy will Noordzeker produce?
We want to produce as much energy with Noordzeker as possible. The Dutch government shares our ambition and announced exciting growth plans on September 16th, 2022: 

"Today the government announces plans for the further growth of offshore wind energy from now until 2050. These plans assume the generation of some 50 gigawatts of wind energy capacity by 2040 and aim for some 70 gigawatts by 2050. In order for industry and society in the Netherlands to become sustainable quickly, offshore wind energy must continue to grow substantially after 2030. This is why we are planning for the maximum amount of energy which is predicted to be needed. Currently, the government is already working toward some 21 gigawatts by 2030, which is about 75% of our country's current electricity consumption." 

The minimum capacity of the wind turbines that will be used for IJVER is 15 megawatts (MW). The reason for this is the permit, which allows a maximum of 67 wind turbines per lot, to minimise the ecological impact of the wind parks: it is better for the environment to have a few large wind turbines, than many small ones. So to reach a capacity of 2GW per lot, you need wind turbines of at least 15 MW each.
What about flora and fauna: will nature be affected by a wind farm?
Noordzeker tries to minimise the impact on flora and fauna while also increasing biodiversity, both during the construction and operational phases of the wind farm. In these areas, Noordzeker aims to cooperate with environmental organisations and field experts. The measures taken by Noordzeker will be expanded and will be included in the bid with great care for the tender.
Will the construction of this project pollute the sea?
Building, maintaining and dismantling wind turbines requires fossil fuel energy, which releases CO2. It takes on average 3 to 6 months until renewable energy generation catches up with the energy used in building the wind farm. Fortunately, ecology and circularity are very important selection criteria for the winning bid. Bidders will therefore be motivated to mitigate all relevant risks to the best of their ability and seize opportunities to protect and enhance biodiversity during construction. To this end, Noordzeker will work with environmental organisations and the experts in the field. Multiple initiatives such as the construction of artificial reefs on the seabed, and numerous other possibilities will be explored.
What is the expected lifetime of the offshore wind turbines? Is construction a sustainable investment when it comes to materials?
According to industry information, the expected operational lifespan of the newest generations of wind turbines is currently over 30 years. Combined with proper maintenance and advancing technology, the economic life of this wind farm could be as long as the full 40-year permit period. Noordzeker selects the best innovations in wind energy, such as recyclable wind turbine technology, to ensure maximum lifespan.
Why wind energy instead of other forms of energy, such as solar energy?
Milieudefensie provides a comparison between windmills and solar panels. Windmills produce much more energy than solar panels. To give you a sense of the difference: one windmill (of 15 MW) generates as much energy as 125,000 solar panels. Windmills also provide energy at night and in the winter. However, combining wind turbines and solar panels is optimal to avoid any seasonal issues, both types of energy are complementary.
Is offshore wind energy not more expensive than onshore? How do these more expensive offshore wind turbines affect the price of energy?
The price of offshore wind energy has fallen significantly in recent years: costs have fallen from $150 to $200 per megawatt-hour (MWh) in 2015, to less than $50 per MWh in the United Kingdom by the end of 2019 (ESMAP 2019). This makes offshore wind energy the cheapest large-scale renewable energy source. Despite the cost of building offshore wind farms being higher than building on land, these costs are quickly offset by higher energy yields.
What is APG's role in the Noordzeker project? What is the division of roles between ABP and APG?
ABP is the initiator of Noordzeker and is ultimately responsible for ABP's assets. APG implements and is responsible for the day-to-day tasks in the context of Noordzeker on behalf of ABP. These tasks include maintaining contact with financial and technical partners, managing the organisation's financial policy, and supervising the construction and operational phase of wind farms.
Why is this initiative called Noordzeker?
Noordzeker wants to secure wind energy in the North Sea for the Netherlands.

Wind and water have been part of Dutch ‘DNA' for centuries. Wind and water represent an enormous opportunity for the energy transition of the future of the Netherlands and our North Sea fulfils a unique role in this transition. As an initiative of pension fund ABP, pension investor APG and developer and operator of renewable energy SSE Renewables, Noordzeker focuses on the large-scale generation of wind energy in the North Sea. Sustainable and stably priced energy for and from the Netherlands, for decades to come. 

We believe that renewable energy generation is a collaborative effort, for and from all of us. By actively investing in wind energy in the North Sea now, we are ensuring more renewable energy for the Netherlands of tomorrow. This will speed up the necessary transition to sustainable energy and make us less dependent on fossil fuels that are finite and harmful to the environment, as well as making us less dependent on entities that produce oil and gas. Together, we take ownership of our shared future.