Netherlands to offer new offshore development zones

NETHERLANDS: The Dutch government has proposed new areas in its North Sea for the development of offshore wind projects.

The two proposed development areas in darker green
The two proposed development areas in darker green

The new sites consist of the 1,225 square kilometre Hollandse Kust area about 22km from the Dutch coast and the 200 square kilometre Noorden van de Waddeneilanden block further out and to the north of the Wadden Islands.

The Hollandse Kust area is made up of several smaller blocks, while the Wadden island area is contiguous.

A government estimate shows the Hollandse Kust area bearing a maximum capacity of 7.3GW, while the Noorden van de Waddeneilanden block could feature development with a capacity of 1.2GW

A draft bill put forward by minister of infrastructure and the environment Melanie Schultz van Haegen was then approved by the council of ministers.

A consultation with the public started in January, and the bill is expected to go before parliament in mid 2014.

The five Wadden Sea islands close to the Dutch coast, have come out against the plans to build projects within the Noorden van de Waddeneilanden block.

The council that represents the islands has said the development would prove "not responsible" given the importance of the Wadden Sea area as a tourist destination.

Other objections highlighted the possible threat to shipping, bird migration and the region's status as a Unesco world heritage site.

The Netherlands has set a target of 4.5GW of offshore wind in 2023, in addition to the 6GW of onshore already forecast for 2020.

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