The development of offshore wind energy has started to take place surprisingly quickly, especially in North European waters. This has taken the wind energy industry out of the territory of planning systems that usually govern the siting of wind farms on land, and into the world of departmental, sectoral regulation of marine activities. Although this has favoured the expansion of offshore wind energy in some respects, evidence suggests that the practice and principles of spatial planning can make an important contribution to the proper consideration of proposals for offshore wind arrays. This is especially so when a strategic planning process is put in place for marine areas, in which offshore wind is treated as part of the overall configuration of marine interests, so that adjustments can be made in the interests of wind energy. The current process of marine planning in the Netherlands is described as an illustration of this.