Bad news. The Dutch offshore wind power generation tenders planned to start mid-January will be delayed again; this time for an uncertain period of time. The reason is the rejection by the Dutch Senate of legislation essential to the tenders.

The day before yesterday, just on the brink of the parliamentary Christmas-break, the Senate voted down the extensive STROOM legislative package. The reason for this rejection had nothing to do with the Dutch offshore wind tenders. The Senate balked at the controversial unbundling paragraphs also contained in the package. But it had no statutory alternative but to reject the package wholesale.

The package is essential to the tenders as it creates the legal framework for the construction of the offshore grid by the Dutch TSO, TenneT. Without it, the first two governmental site-decisions, containing the terms for the construction and operation of the future offshore wind farms, also cannot be taken. This creates too much uncertainty to proceed with the tenders at this time. 

The tenders for Borssele sites I & II were originally scheduled to open around mid January. This date will now be delayed further, but the extent of this delay is as of yet unknown. The Dutch Minister of Economic Affairs now needs to separate out the provisions related to offshore wind power generation and run a new draft bill through both Houses of Parliament. He expects to be able to present this new bill to Parliament by the end of February and anticipates that a total delay of half a year may be involved.

Whether this will actually be the case, depends on the expediency with which the Minister can guide this essential piece of legislation through the legislative process. The Minister is known for his political acumen and there is a great deal of goodwill in both Houses to get this on the statute books and run the tenders as soon as practicable. A shorter delay is thus more likely; let's guess: May 2016?

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