NUON appeals Eemmeerdijk planning refusal

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Dutch utility NUON's plans for a 19 turbine wind plant on the Eemmeerdijk near Zeewolde on the southern shore of the Flevoland polder look to have received a fatal blow. NUON failed to secure the necessary development permit from the Minister of Agriculture, Nature Management and Fisheries, Jozias van Aartsen. Acting on the recommendations of the Council for Nature Management, Van Aartsen upheld objections lodged by an environmental lobby group, Milieufederatie Flevoland, and the Bunschoten local council. The protesters believe the project would have too great an impact on the ecology of the Eemmeer nature reserve. Van Aartsen added that there were enough alternative sites within Flevoland for the province to meet its nationally agreed quota for wind energy. Although Van Aartsen's decision looks to have torpedoed the project, NUON has lodged an appeal with the Raad van State, the highest government advisory and legal body in the Netherlands. According to NUON's Wim Vlijm, the company will be content to abide by the decision of the Raad van State, but as yet there is no indication of when it will rule on the appeal. Should the Raad find against the project, NUON is considering a number of other locations, though whether a comparable project will be developed in Flevoland is uncertain. Vlijm dismisses the Milieufederatie Flevoland's claim that the polder could support a further 250 MW installed capacity on alternative sites. "There are not that many locations where wind energy is profitable," he says. However, according to Vlijm, a negative decision should not have any major implications for the company's target of securing 5% of its electricity from renewable resources by the year 2000.

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