Danish developer Ørsted has hammered in the first foundationson the Borssele 1&2 offshore wind farm off the Netherlands, launching in earnest the Dutch government’s plans to have 4.5GW turning off its shores by 2023.

The construction work, being carried out by contractor Deme, is scheduled to be complete this year, with the first of 94 Siemens Gamesa 8MW turbines mated to the monopiles, supplied by Sif, EEW SPC and Bladt Industries, beginning in April.

The 752MW Borssele 1&2 development, the first offshore wind farm to be awarded at a sub- €100 ($112) per MWh price when it was won by Ørsted (then Dong) in the Netherlands’ 2016 tender, will ultimately supply power to 1 million homes once online later this year.

“Borssele 1&2 will be our first offshore wind farm in the Netherlands and is an important step in the Dutch government’s ambitious shift towards green energy,” stated Ørsted general manager for the Netherlands Steven Engels.

“Once completed, Borssele 1&2 will be the largest offshore wind farm in the Netherlands, able to supply renewable power to around 1 million Dutch households.”

The monopiles being installed at Borssele 1&2, which is located 22 kilometers off the coast of the Dutch province of Zeeland in water depths ranging from 14-40 meters, are the biggest every used in the industry, each weighing 1,188 tonnes and measuring 76 metres in length.

The Netherlands has the most ambitious offshore wind build-out plans in Europe. Since the 2016 tender, which Ørsted won with a €72.70/MWh bid for Borssele 1&2, the country’s aspirations have been buoyed by still lower auction awards, with Borssele 3&4 coming in at €54.50, and the world’s first zero-subsidy tender being held in 2018 for the 700MW Hollandse Kust South 1&2 sites.

Bids are due in April for the Dutch government’s third zero-subsidy offshore wind tender, for the circa 700MW ‘site 5’ wind farm in the Hollandse Kust North area.

A recent report from European wind advocacy body WindEurope pointed to Europe having the potential to see its offshore wind plant base growing to 450GW by mid-century and meeting 30% of the continent’s power demand — but needing a root-and-branch rethink of marine spatial planning to achieve this.