Shell will link with Mitsubishi-owned utility Eneco to bid in the latest offshore wind tender run by the Dutch government.

The oil supermajor will join Eneco to enter the Netherlands’ subsidy-free auction for the twin-zone 1.4GW Hollandse Kust West (HKW) North Sea developments.

The partners will put forward two projects. The first, called Ecowende, aims for “an offshore wind farm with a flourishing ecosystem, minimum impact on birds and bats and an undisturbed underwater world”.

A second joint venture between Shell and Eneco called SchakelWind pledges to make “a large number of investments throughout the country… [in] projects that fully move in sync with the power production of the wind farm. This will ensure that the green energy from the wind farm is used as effectively and widely as possible to make the Netherlands more sustainable”.

The Shell-Eneco link-up reprises a partnership that in 2020 won the zero-subsidy bidding for the 759MW Hollandse Kust North zone, due in service next year and slated to supply the power to a 200MW green hydrogen electrolyser facility Shell is planning to build in Rotterdam.

Kees-Jan Rameau, chief strategic growth officer at Eneco, said: “With these joint ventures, we will be able to further the energy transition in the Netherlands together with Shell, both at sea and on land and in all sectors. We will solve a number of important issues and thus make an important contribution to achieving the objectives in the Dutch Climate Agreement.”

Dutch utility Eneco was in 2019 acquired by Japanese conglomerate Mitsubishi, which owns 80% of the company after seeing off rival bidders including Shell itself.

Entries for the Hollandse Kust West tender close on 12 May and the winner is expected to be named after the summer. Other confirmed entrants so far include UK utility SSE in conjunction with Brookfield Renewable, and a partnership of Vattenfall and chemicals giant BASF.

Apart from qualitative criteria, Hollandse Kust West also includes a pioneering and controversial element of negative bids of up to €50m ($53m) per zone – meaning developers can end up paying for the right to build and operate Hollandse Kust West.

That aspect was criticised by Martin Neubert, chief commercial officer (CCO) at Orsted, during the recent WindEurope 2022 conference in Bilbao, where he said negative bidding or seabed lease auctions cost companies money that they need to ramp up the offshore wind supply chain.

Hollandse Kust West forms part of an ambitious drive to roughly double the Netherlands’ offshore wind capacity to 21GW by 2030.