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A proposal to dot 500 MW of wind turbines between beds of flowering tulips in the Wieringermeer in northern Holland has met with little enthusiasm. The local council -- which has been asked to contribute just 25 MW towards Holland's 1000 MW goal for wind -- is unhappy. So, too, is local utility, PEN. It does not consider the scheme to be particularly realistic. The 500 MW idea is the brainchild of the regional council for Noord Holland North. According to a national zoning plan for horticulture, it has to find 1000 hectares of land for growing bulbs. But the cost of mixing tons of sand into the region's clay soil amounts to a colossal NLG 200,000 per hectare -- a sum that even wealthy bulb growers are baulking at. The council's plan was to erect wind turbines between the bulb-growing plots, thereby lancing the country's first horti-wind farm. With one 500 kW turbine per hectare the area could have contributed 500 MW of installed wind capacity -- half the Dutch national target. The scheme would cost in the order of NLG 1 billion, for which the council suggests tapping the European Union's coffers for at least some of the cost.

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