Pile driving work has started on the first offshore wind farm to be sited in Dutch waters. From August four 500 kW NedWind turbines will be generating electricity from an offshore location in the IJsselmeer, the largest inland sea in the Netherlands. The turbines will be sited 800 metres from the coast near Medemblik and are among the first in Europe to get their feet wet. Each machine will be sited on a 28 metre pile with an average diameter of 3.5 m. The piles are being driven through the soft sub-sea soil and into firm ground below. Foundation contractor, Ballast Nedam, came up with the pile design after working on a bridge now being constructed over the Great Belt in Denmark. When finished the bridge will be one of the largest in the world.
According to Renee Nolen from utility PEN, the project developer, growing public opposition to on-shore wind turbines and lack of space on land prompted the decision to go off-shore. The wind farm is being built at a cost of NLG 10 million. If the project is successful PEN will consider developing wind farms in deeper waters, such as the North Sea. Although the wind farm has been in the planning pipeline for two years, it is still not clear what the effect of the turbines will be on bird life in the area. Ecological research will contribute to PEN's learning process.
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