The Dutch government still plans to hold its next zero-subsidy offshore wind tender in April for the about 700MW Hollandse Kust North ‘wind farm site 5’, despite the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus.

“At this moment we do not foresee impact of the Covid-19 crisis for the submission of proposals for the Hollandse Kust (noord) permit,” the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) said in a newsletter.

Covid-19 is the respiratory illness caused by the novel Coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2, which as of March 17 has affected 1,416 people in the Netherlands, with 24 deaths, according to the data base of Johns Hopkins University.

The virus outbreak is still rising exponentially in many parts of the world, but so far had only minor impacts on the offshore wind sector.

Last week, a vessel operated by Esvagt and providing service for OEM MHI Vestas was temporarily quarantined in the Belgian port of Oostende due to a suspected case of Covid-19 that later proved unfounded.

Norwegian oil & gas major Equinor – which is also a major player in offshore wind – today said it will shift its shift executive vice president Pål Eitrheim, who so far has headed the company’s new energy business area, to lead a temporary corporate project to handle its response to the Coronavirus and oil price collapse.

But the virus outbreak so far hasn’t impacted Equinor’s offshore wind developments.

The Hollandse Kust North tender will open on April 2, and close on April 30, 2020, at 1700 hours local time (CEST). Details on the application procedure are available in Dutch (link here).

If the situation changes, Dutch authorities will issue information immediately.

The area is the fifth consecutive zone to be auctioned off as part of a 3.5GW expansion plan that is slated to take the country’s cumulative capacity for wind at sea to 4.5GW by 2023.

After that, the Netherlands plan to build-out its offshore wind capacity even faster in order to reach 11.5GW by 2030.

On top of the already planned offshore wind expansion, oil major Shell, gas grid operator Gasunie and Groningen Seaports last month have unveiled plans for Europe’s biggest hydrogen project, which would be powered by a 3-4GW offshore wind farm in the Dutch North Sea by 2030 that would be expanded to up to 10GW by 2040.