In our previous client alert we informed you that, on 22 December 2015, the Dutch Senate rejected the legislative proposal for the Electricity and Gas Act - also called STROOM - by one vote due to the controversial unbundling paragraphs also contained in the legislative proposal (for reasons unrelated to the Dutch offshore wind tenders).
The STROOM package is essential to the Dutch offshore wind tenders as it, amongst other things, appoints TenneT as the designated grid operator for the offshore grid. Without the STROOM package, there is no legal basis for the offshore grid. The STROOM package is furthermore of importance with respect to onshore wind energy as it will, amongst other things, enable operators to timely make investment decisions.
At the time of rejection, it was uncertain how long the STROOM package would be delayed and what the impact would be on the Dutch offshore wind tenders. Some sources reported to Dutch newspapers that Minister Kamp of Economic Affairs, would have an alternative legislative proposal ready, which - at least - would provide for the legal framework required for the construction of the offshore grid by TenneT. Following the letters sent by Minister Kamp to the Dutch House of Representatives and the Dutch Senate on 22 January 2016, we now know that a revised legislative proposal will be brought-up for voting in the Dutch House of Representatives prior to 19 February and in the Dutch Senate prior to 22 March 2016.
A revised legislative proposal has not been released by the Minister yet, but the aforementioned letters already mention that the legislative proposal will contain (i) a legal framework for the construction of the offshore grid and (ii) provisions relating to onshore wind energy which were also included in the rejected STROOM package. The revised legislative proposal will generally be in line with the rejected STROOM package. Other matters dealt with in the rejected STROOM package, will be included in a second legislative proposal, which will be presented after the summer of 2016.
The timing of the voting dates is scheduled in such a way that the revised legislation can enter into force by 1 April 2016 at the latest. Minister Kamp emphasizes in his letters that if the legislation has not entered into force by that date, the Borssele II tender will not be ready in time to attribute to the 2020-goals set out in the 2013 Dutch Energy Accord.