Turbine height ruling challenged by farmers in Friesland

A group of farmers and villagers in the Dutch province of Friesland are to challenge the regional wind planning regulations with a proposal to build four turbines with tower height s of nearly 80 metres -- some 20 metres higher than current regulations permit. The proposal is for 2 MW turbines alongside the A7 motorway in the Eendracht polder to the east of the IJsselmeer. They would replace 12 smaller turbines scattered throughout the Wunswradiell area. The new 8 MW plant will generate some 28 million kWh a year, around 7.5 to ten times the output of the machines to be replaced, says Jos Duindam of the development group, Stichting Opschaling Project A7. Friesland's regional wind policy strongly encourages the replacement of scattered small turbines with clusters of higher powered units. To date, however, few such repowering projects have been realised, largely because developers have to acquire new sites rather than building on land they already own. Maximising the output of the replacement plant is also frustrated by provincial regulations stipulating that new turbines do not exceed a hub height of 60 metres. "For this location we've calculated that building four turbines with a hub height of 78 metres will produce around 2,000,000 kWh a year more than if we build them on a 60 metre tower," says Duindam, whose plans are supported by government agency NOVEM and engineering consultancy Grontmij. He is optimistic the local authorities will revise the cap. A ruling is expected on the application before the end of the year.

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