Rutte rsquo s cabinet fell in
Rutte’s cabinet fell in April 2012, and the September 2012 parliamentary elections were won by conservative liberal VVD and labour PvdA. NWEA lobbied for offshore wind during the parties’ coalition agreement negotiations . The resulting coalition agreement referred to OWP as a “promising sector” and pledged to support XCT790 sector- and OWP industry initiatives to stimulate innovation to “bring down the cost price of OWP at an increased rate”. Simultaneously, it increased the 2020 sustainable energy target from 14% to 16% (VVD and PvdA, 2013). Many felt that this target could not be realized without OWP and by mid-2013, the new (VVD) Minister of Economic Affairs agreed: he referred to OWP as indispensable for realizing 16% renewables in 2020 and announced his willingness to earmark part of the SDE+ budget specifically for OWP. Although he referred his own suggestion as “unelegant” and “ not in the spirit of the SDE system” which has been designed to favour the least expensive renewable energy options, he argued that the “low-hanging fruit” options would eventually deplete the budget but not realize the target, leaving nothing for OWP at the point when it would be ready (i.e. cheap enough) to make its contribution to the target : “if we want to realize 16%, then the more expensive options have to be on the table again, as well” (interviewee 6). In addition to the search for additional wind energy areas promised in the 2009 National Water Plan (and which had focused on two large areas of west of the Province of Noord-Holland and north of the Wadden islands) that would result in a new 2014 offshore wind strategic structure agenda (‘structuurvisie wind op zee’), the government now also ordered a feasibility study for OWP construction within the 12-mile zone, arguing that it wanted to explore all options to meet the ‘16% in 2020 target’ and reasoning that OWP is cheaper when constructed nearer to the shore. According to some, this study is mostly a “trial balloon aimed at seeing how coastal municipalities and citizens react” (interviewee 7). A major 2013 national energy agreement set the 2020 target back to 14% again, but it did add a specific offshore wind goal of 4450 MW in 2023 . The following table provides a on overview of how policy enabled or constrained shielding, nurturing and empowering offshore wind energy ( Table 8).