The Dutch government has chosen the RWE-led Oranje Wind Power 2 consortium to build the giant zero-subsidy 760MW Hollandse Kust West offshore wind project, which will feature industrial onshore hydrogen generation facilities as well as electricity for district heating and industrial applications, batteries and floating solar energy.

Located some 50km off the coast of the Netherlands, Site 7, as it is titled, is one of two new offshore projects due to become operational in the country’s North Sea waters in 2026, with Site 6, set to be awarded by mid-December, the other.

Dutch minister for climate and energy Rob Jetten said: “This new wind farm is another major step in making the Netherlands more sustainable. It will produce enough electricity to meet the needs of one million households per year.

“Wind energy is also very important for companies and industry that are increasingly electrifying their installations, replacing fossil fuels and raw materials. With this project we are making another concrete step towards achieving the [national] goal of 21GW of offshore wind energy around 2030.”

The dovetailing-in of hydrogen production and district and industry e-heating into Hollandse Kust West was in response to the Dutch government tender requirement that developers “come up with new solutions for fully integrating all the electricity generated into the [national grid]”.

Wind advocacy body WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson stated: “This auction proves using qualitative criteria works. Governments can evaluate bids on objective and measurable criteria. The auction for Site 7 of Hollandse Kust West focused on how well the wind farm will be integrated into the Dutch energy system.

“In total 90% of the scoring was related to qualitative criteria. Next month the Dutch will present the results for Site 7 of Hollandse Kust West also based on 90% non-price criteria, this time focused on biodiversity.

"The Dutch... have shown you can get away from price-only auctions. Non-price criteria recognise the European wind industry’s societal value and reward their investments in areas such as biodiversity and system integration. It’s a great example to the rest of Europe.”

Dickson cautioned that the “one problem” presented by the Dutch auction was “too many losers”, adding: “The solution is to have bigger auctions. Europe wants to build loads of new wind farms. And loads of companies want to build them. The Dutch and other governments should put more gigawatts up for auction each time.”

The Dutch government, which aims to have offshore wind meeting 75% of national power needs by 2030, currently has 2.5GW turning. A 70GW target has been set for 2050, with an eye on widespread electrification of the Netherlands and production of green hydrogen to decarbonise industries.

Note: Updates article to 760MW capacity after further information from RWE