No idle turbines allowed

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Het Bildt, a small town in the north of Holland, is insisting that wind turbines which have stood idle for a year should be taken down. The demand is a condition of all environmental licenses granted for wind turbine installation in the region. The town currently has 13 small turbines operating within its jurisdiction, totalling 1 MW. According to Gerrit de Jong from the local planning office, wind capacity will be increased to 30 MW in the next ten years. In the pipeline is a private scheme for a 5 MW wind farm and local utility, NUON, is discussing a 13 MW project.

The move against idle turbines was taken after Het Bildt planners noted the reactions of local people to those now in place. "The support of the local people wanes quickly when they see rotors at a standstill," says De Jong. He adds that scepticism about wind energy has grown in the region after the failure of a turbine in the experimental wind farm in nearby Sexbierum. The project of older turbines was stopped early last year. "People say that if they are not working they are just polluting the horizon."

The town council is anxious to ensure that future wind turbines run smoothly and quietly. "We demand adequate maintenance of the turbines," says De Jong. "The owner has to prove this by regularly showing us copies of his maintenance bills. That is another way of keeping the rotors turning."

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