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Netherlands

Netherlands

Keen interest in direct access

The association of private wind turbine owners of North Holland would prefer to supply green electricity directly to the consumer rather than, as at present, via the power distribution company Energie Noord West.

Evidence that the wind of market forces is already being felt by independent turbine owners on the Dutch polders was provided at the annual general meeting of the association of private wind turbine owners of North Holland (VWNH) in March. Addressing the meeting, chairman Arnaud de Schutter said that if it lay within its powers, his association would prefer to supply green electricity directly to the consumer rather than, as at present, via the power distribution company Energie Noord West (ENW).

According to De Schutter, the contracts between VWNH members and the utility had "run their course, at least in their present form." Looking back on a year with less wind than usual he said that private owners needed "a better return for the energy we provide. We will only get this if we can supply electricity directly to the customers." The association has already set up a working party to investigate the possibility of feeding power directly into the national grid and is canvassing support in the wider wind community.

In a reference to the regional authority's decision to promote the development of wind farms rather than individual turbines -- in line with the government's "Renewable Energy Report" recommendations -- De Schutter claimed there was now a structural opposition to individual initiatives in wind development. "In the past year much has happened apart from the building of wind turbines," he said. "We all know about the latest measures of the regional authorities who are refusing to allow the building of individual turbines," he told the meeting. "We seriously regret this decision. And, if we have our way, we have not heard the last on this subject," he said.

After the meeting, Ronald Wiecherink of ENW said he had "no comment" on the VWNH plans to supply electricity direct to the consumer. Wiecherink also denied De Schutter's allegation that ENW "was behind" the provincial authority's opposition to solitary turbine construction. He said that De Schutter may have reached this conclusion because ENW has experienced difficulty connecting solitary turbines to its grid. It was not, he insisted, ENW policy to shut out independent turbine owners.

"ENW is concerned primarily with producing electricity as economically as possible," he said, adding that the company was looking to develop a number of wind projects where costs and profits would be shared between the utility and private developers.

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