Vattenfall has dropped plans to enter the upcoming 700MW Hollandse Kust North offshore wind tender in the Netherlands citing “uncertainties” caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

A spokesman for the Swedish group – a regular contender in offshore wind auctions in the Netherlands and around Europe – told Recharge it had decided to focus on its existing operations and projects, which it would continue to deliver “in a timely and safe manner”.

The spokesman confirmed a general fall in energy prices seen since the pandemic began was one of the factors considered by the developer as it considered whether to bid in the tender round, which is due to be held on a subsidy-free basis by the Dutch government.

Vattenfall was in 2018 the winner of the last Netherlands offshore wind tender, for the 760MW Hollandse Kust South, which was also awarded subsidy-free. The spokesman said the Swedish group remains “fully committed” to that project, adding that the decision to pull out of Hollandse Kust North had no implications for other tendering processes Vattenfall may be considering joining elsewhere in Europe.

The Dutch government said in mid-March it planned to proceed with the Hollandse Kust North tender despite the coronavirus outbreak, with the round opening on 2 April and ending 30 April.

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.