Utility proceeds with major wind plans

The Netherlands' largest wind farm looks set to come on-line by the end of 2000, says EDON, the Dutch utility developing the 60 MW Delfzijl Zuid project. The site permitting process is nearing completion and it looks likely that work on access roads will start in May with installation of around 40, 1.5 MW turbines beginning in June, says EDON's Hein Akerboom.

EDON is developing the wind farm in collaboration with the site owners, Siemens Nederland and Koop Holdings. Siemens will also be building the infrastructure of the NLG 150 million project. The contract for supplying the turbines looks likely to go to Tacke of Germany, ahead of Vestas and NEG Micon of Denmark. Given the alliance of Siemens with Tacke on the Dutch market and the German engineering giant's involvement in the project, the choice might come as little surprise. Akerboom insists, however, that Tacke, owned by US gas giant Enron, emerged as the front runner purely because its bid was the best.

Because the site lies in an industrialised area, the site permitting process has been relatively smooth, although the authorities did reject the original wind farm configuration, insisting on a layout which requires the construction of new access roads, reports Akerboom.

Development of a nearby project, a 20 MW wind plant of 12, 1.5 MW turbines on the Delfzijl harbour wall, has been far less smooth. Following claims that the site lies on an important bird migration route, plans for Delfzijl Schermdijk have had to be put on hold pending the completion of further avian mortality studies. "Consequently it seemed sensible to separate the development of the two Delfzijl projects," says Akerboom.

Plan causes dispute

Meantime, EDON has also revealed a five year plan for the integral development of the total harbour area at Eemsmond. This includes the construction of a new 20 MW wind farm on the eastern side of the harbour and the renovation of the two existing wind stations. The plan, however, has led to heated dispute with local farmers who had expected to be allowed to participate directly in the project as compensation for their loss of the right to construct solitary turbines on their own land under Groningen's new provincial wind policy. For its part EDON is prepared to open the Eemsmond project to individual investors, Akerboom says, He adds it will if necessary surrender its majority share, though not the right to make all decisions on development, operation and maintenance. "A situation in which the site is divided into allotments with individual developers installing and maintaining their own wind turbines is wholly untenable", says Akerboom.

Kenetech legacy

Elsewhere at Eemsmond, EDON continues to struggle with the legacy of Kenetech's bankruptcy and the retrofit of the 34 MW Kenetech wind farm running approximately one month behind schedule. All the defective blades supplied by A Tout Vent were due to have been replaced by new Aerpac blades by the end of last month, according to Akerboom.

"Visually the retrofit will then be complete, but we are also having problems with the interaction between the rotor and the machine-basically the rotor is moving too fast, and because of Kenetech's bankruptcy, we can't find out how to slow down the blade by adjusting the black box," Akerboom says. "So now we have devised a new system which will slow down the signal from the blade to the software system." Dutch Energy Research Centre (ECN) is working on its implementation. For the time being, however, the 94 Kenetech 33M-VS (NL) machines will continue to run at reduced load.

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