The Netherlands has at least one ‘subsidy-free’ bidder for its offshore wind auction after Swedish utility Vattenfall confirmed on Friday its entry to the fray.
Vattenfall is the first developer to confirm its bid for the zero-subsidy auction, the first of its kind in the world, which is seeking about $2.7bn to develop 700MW offshore wind capacity off the Netherlands’ southwest coast.
The Dutch authorities changed the rules of the auction after renewable developers offered to build offshore wind farms at market prices in Germany earlier this year.
Companies have until December 21 to bid for two slots in the North Sea, each 350MW in capacity, although the Dutch government has acknowledged the risk that it might not have received any bids at all.
That scenario is now off the cards, with Vattenfall announcing on Friday it would participate in the tender for the ‘Hollandse Kust Zuid’ project. As an energy company with a strong presence in the Dutch market and with a firm view on the developments in the Dutch power market, we are very committed to take a leading role in the green transformation of the Dutch economy,” Vattenfall CEO Magnus Hall said in a statement. “Hollandse Kust Zuid would be an important milestone,” he added.
Gunnar Groebler, head of Vattenfall’s business area for wind, said the firm had been “very thorough” in examining the business case for the zero-subsidy bid and stressed its proposal “represents a very solid all-round proposition”.
Vattenfall already operates more than 1,000 onshore and offshore wind turbines across Sweden, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK, with further development in the pipeline.
The news, which came on day one of the tender round, has prompted analysts to speculate other bidders will enter the auction this week. “It had been thought that notable differences to the German offshore wind tender, particularly in project operation lead time, would make zero bids in the Dutch round too challenging, however this is clearly not the case,” remarked Wouter Hertzberger, energy partner in law firm Norton Rose Fulbright.