A covenant to build the biggest wind farm in the Netherlands -- a 120 MW project in the Rhine estuary area -- has been signed by the economics ministry, Rotterdam city council and ten other groups. It is scheduled for completion by 2010. In the first phase of the project the 40 wind turbines, rated at 750 kW currently positioned on the Maasvlakte and along the Hartel canal, will be replaced with megawatt class units, boosting installed capacity to 84 MW by 2005. At the same time sites for new turbines will be identified in the Rozenburg area, along the north bank of the Nieuwe Waterweg and at the entrance of the harbour area. By 2010, the wind plant will comprise 80 turbines, with an installed capacity of 120 MW. Ominously, however, the Rozenburg local council, which was involved in planning the project, withdrew from the covenant as a protest against plans to develop a wind farm along the Slufter peninsula. During the signing ceremony, economics minister Annemarie Jorritsma reiterated the government's commitment to developing offshore wind. "Offshore wind must supply at least 1500 megawatts by 2020," she said, adding that work on the government's North Sea pilot project (Windpower Monthly, December 2000) was scheduled to begin in 2002.
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