Bitter invective from wind turbine owners

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With the stagnation of its national wind programme already apparent, Dutch calls for CO2 reductions at Kyoto were "a joke" writes the Groningen association of wind turbine owners, VWG, in its newsletter, "As 'T Boetn Stormt." Expressing dissatisfaction with the state of Dutch wind in general -- and the Groningen area in particular -- the newsletter laments another "lost year," noting that despite action plans and national initiatives "there is no single provincial council which really recognises the necessity and importance of wind energy."

In Groningen, nothing has happened since an attempt at "policy evaluation" last summer, the newsletter claims, while in the province of North Holland serious work on a wind policy only began this autumn and in Friesland a regional plan for wind development will not be finished for another year.

The newsletter's most bitter invective is saved for Groningen, where no new wind power was installed in 1997. According to the newsletter, local utility EDON "has no real policy for stimulating wind development and charges a premium rate for connecting wind plant to the grid while paying a pittance for power generated from wind."

Not a sod to the dike

Moreover, the Groningen Environmental Federation is opposed to new initiatives and -- perhaps as a result of the province's bad experience with its poorly operating wind farm of Kenetech turbines -- advocates the use of small turbines. Such units, according to the newsletter, "date from the dawn of wind energy technology, contribute nothing to solving the CO2 problem and moreover cannot be certified for use by any local or regional council."

Environmental planning legislation needs to be rethought, the VWG believes, with clean air and the need to halt global warning being made priorities. "South Pacific islands are not the only areas of the world in danger of vanishing below sea level," the article warns.

The VWG believes that the liberalised electricity market introduced by economics affairs minister Hans Wijers in 1995 has resulted in two lost years for Dutch wind development. The fiscal instruments introduced by Wijers to replace subsidies on wind investment have failed "to add a sod to the dike."

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