A joint initiative by nine local councils in the Dutch province of Noord Holland has secured a EUR 450,000 European subsidy to increase the profile of the province's North Sea coastline as one of the pre-eminent locations for the offshore wind industry. According to Vera van Vuren, program manager of Kop & Munt, the agency responsible for co-ordinating the initiative, investment in offshore wind activities will provide a huge economic stimulus for the region which already has a suitable port and an airport at Den Helder. "Noord Holland already has an abundance of experience with offshore activities such as the loading and unloading of materials and personnel. The region is also familiar with laying cables at sea," says Van Vuren, who estimates that a wind farm off the coast would create 2000 new jobs. The province will be making a contribution of EUR 100,000 to the project, which is part of the EU's POWER (Pushing Offshore Wind Energy Regions) program. Kop & Munt is one of 24 partners participating in the three year program, which has adopted a three-pronged approach to boosting offshore wind. First, it supports research into identifying suitable sites for new wind farms and examining their likely impact on fishing and shipping. Second, it aims to outline the economic consequences for the region. Third, it seeks to develop educational and training programs for those intending to work in the sector.
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