Anti-wind lobby kills visionary planning policy

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At a turbulent public meeting in late January, the Friesian Planning Commission failed to approve the province's long awaited wind planning policy document, "Windstreek 1999." The decision is likely to leave the region without an effective wind permitting system for another 18 months.

After a year in which the province added just 3.3 MW to its total installed capacity of 60.9 MW, the wind lobby hoped the new regulations would rejuvenate Friesian wind development. With its emphasis on upgrading existing plant and moving away from the profusion of solitary turbines, the new policy outline was expected to placate Friesland's vociferous anti-wind lobby. A proposal to allow for taller towers and larger rotors had also suggested the wind lobby had booked a significant victory in persuading the provincial executive that a proposed 40 metre limit on tower height was too restrictive.

These hopes were dashed, however, when the planning commission made substantial alterations to the draft document. Proposals for large scale developments on coastal sites were scrapped and the number of areas set aside for "small clusters" of ten units was significantly reduced. The commission also limited the number of clusters to one per local council-where two had been proposed-and stipulated that these only be allowed where existing solitary turbines had been dismantled.

Given the scale of the commission's interventions, the councillor responsible for Friesian wind planning policy, Siem Jansen, decided to withdraw the draft pending another round of public consultation. With regional elections expected this month, it is unlikely that any new policy will be made in the next 18 months.

Meanwhile, the existing planning provisions from Windstreek 1997 will continue in force, prohibiting the development of any new solitary wind turbines.

Plans for a 300 MW wind station along the length of the Afsluitdijk, which connects Friesland with North Holland (Windpower Monthly, December 1998), are unlikely to be affected by the delay.

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