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Netherlands

Netherlands

Setting things straight

The authors defend their study on utilising wind energy resources far from a demand centre reported in Windpower Monthly (Importing Wind, August 1996) and fail to see the "imperialism" in a country with a commodity to offer selling it to a country with a demand for it although agreeing that one must be careful that such ventures do not become one-sided.

From DR J.P. Coelingh and Dr A.J.M. Wijk, Utrecht University, the Netherlands

We feel the tone of your article on our study of utilising wind energy resources far from a demand centre (Importing Wind, August 1996) is rather sarcastic -- and you even use the term "energy imperialism." We would like to set a few things straight.

The study was a first assessment of the technical and economic viability of embedded wind generation using HVDC transmission technology. As an example we looked at the case of the Netherlands as the demand centre and Scotland or Norway as the electricity producing countries. These were not randomly chosen examples, but two countries with enormous wind energy resources and low population densities. Using information from Scottish and Norwegian studies, we defined some possible configurations and calculated the resulting costs of electricity.

In the study we did not look in detail at the prospects of realising these systems and probably there are some arguments why these systems will not be realised. However, we fail to see the "imperialism" if a country with a commodity to offer would sell it to a country with a demand for it. We don't speak of "imperialism" when we import natural gas from Russia or Algeria, or oil from Kuwait or Saudi Arabia, or coal from Poland or South Africa. It all depends on the terms of the agreement between the two countries involved.

We agree with you that one must be careful that ventures like this do not become one-sided, but we believe our study can contribute to the debate on how to exploit renewable sources on a large scale for the benefit of all.

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