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Dutch government to fund West Indies projects

NETHERLANDS: The Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation has agreed to partly fund two wind power projects on the islands of Saba and Sint Eustatius in the Dutch West Indies.

Wind measurements were carried out this summer by the Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN) at various locations.

The plan is to install three turbines on each island to meet up to a third of their electricity needs, displacing expensive diesel generation. The turbines will need to be hurricane-proof. The islands have a population of around 175,000.

While the amount of funding has not yet been decided, the sum of $500,000 has been mentioned in the local press. Unusually, the Dutch government decided to fund the projects because under European rules overseas territories are not eligible for subsidies paid in Europe.

The timing is also uncertain because it depends on the successful restructuring of the islands' two electricity companies. However, the ministry says it plans to install the turbines over the next year.

On the nearby island of Bonaire 12 Enercon 900kW turbines have been turning since 2010.

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