Dutch consortium will battle Vattenfall for new offshore wind projects

Upcoming Dutch offshore wind farm Hollandse Kust Zuid 3 and 4. The Dutch consortium will now bid against Sweden's Vattenfall.
Photo: PR eneco
Photo: PR eneco

750 MW of offshore wind capacity in the Netherlands is far dear a prize for the Swedish utility to give up without a fight. That seems to be the train of thought in several Dutch utilities ready to place bids on offshore wind projects Hollandse Kust Zuid 3 and 4.

While it has been known since the end of February that Sweden's Vattenfall will bid on the farms, there have been few other bids, until today. Now, consortium Witwind has joined the battle for the farms. 

Witwind's bid comes the day before the tender deadline for Hollandse Kust Zuid 3 og 4.

Witwind is a consortium consisting of Shell, entrepreneurial company Van Oord and utility Eneco, which is owned by 53 Dutch municipalities.

The bid is focused on building offshore wind with a total capacity of 750 MW and is expected to deliver power to approximately 1.3 million Dutch households.

Although Witwind's is bidding on home turf, Vattenfall still has some clear advantages. The Swedish utility has already won rights to install Dutch Kust Zuid 1 & 2. Last year, the Netherlands was the first country to hold a zero-subsidy tender round for offshore wind.

At the same time, Danish utility Ørsted passed on a bid, stating that conditions were not favorable enough to create value for the company and its shareholders. Whether Ørsted will be among the Hollandse Kust Zuid 3 and 4 bidders remains to be seen.

In the beginning of February, Ørsted stated it was considering a bid.

"There are still some weeks ahead before a deadline for bids. We have not yet decided whether we will deliver an application to the beauty contest, but we are currently in the process of evaluating this," said CEO Henrik Poulsen to EnergyWatch.

To strengthen Dutch wind sector

Part of Witwind's angle is that, as a consortium, it is has access to highly qualified workers, low prices and good opportunities to strengthen the offshore wind sector in the Netherlands which could eventually generate increased export. The consortium has evaluated that the two farms could enter operation by 2023.

"We are proud to be a part of this consortium that has tendered for Hollandse Kust (zuid) III and IV. Shell wants to play an active role in the Dutch energy transition. Offshore wind will play an important role in the future energy system of the Netherlands and we would be happy to grow our offshore wind portfolio in the Netherlands building on the experience gained in Borssele III & IV and Offshore Windpark Egmond aan Zee," says Marjan van Loon, President Director Shell Netherlands.

Could be aquired by Shell

The fact that Shell and Eneco are considering taking on offshore wind together makes sense in light of rumors that Shell is the favorite for acquiring Eneco, which will likely end up sold.

The two companies have previously collaborated on Borssele 3 and 4, while Eneco disclosed a couple of weeks ago that the sale of the company would be kickstarted. Eneco has long worked toward privatization and has plans to auction itself off this year.

In January, Shell announced its interest in Eneco in a press release, saying that it had joined forces with PGGM to investigate the possibility of participating in the controlled auction.

The Sale of Eneco cannot be achieved before the deadline for the bid on Hollandske Kust Zuid 3 and 4. The deadline is tomorrow, Thursday March 14.

English Edit: Lena Rutkowski

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