Third contender in line for offshore site

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Together with Stork, ING-Bank and project developer WEOM, newly merged Dutch power company NUON/ENW has declared its interest in developing a 100 MW wind farm ten kilometres off the Dutch coast between Noordwijk and Zandvoort. The consortium, operating under the name "Noordzeewind" is the third to voice interest in the development of the Netherlands' long mooted offshore pilot project. Noordzeewind envisages a plant of 50, 2 MW units on 60 metre towers and, according to WEOM's Dirk Kooman, the group hopes to keep the cost down to NLG 0.015-NLG 0.020/kWh (i007-.009/kWh). "Fiscal measures, subsidies and CO2 reduction plans mean that wind energy is profitable," says Kooman. "We expect to make money from it and when wind energy is exported, trade is going to be lively," he adds, referring to Europe's plans for a single market for renewable energy. The consortium has already selected its subcontractors and turbine manufacturer. NLG 60 million of the NLG 430 million project will be supplied by the Dutch government, and Otto Bitter of the economic affairs ministry foresees no major obstacles arising from the remaining planning procedures. The ministry expects a cabinet decision on the project soon and that construction will begin in 2001, for completion by end 2002. Noordzeewind says the 100 MW project represents the first of many planned ventures offshore: "It's a modest beginning. There aren't any comparable projects elsewhere in the world. For us it's a first step," says Kooman. But, he urges, speed is imperative. "If the government takes a decision this autumn, the Netherlands can be among the leaders in this area, but with Danish plans for installing 750 MW offshore we need to act quickly. We are aiming at many thousands of megawatts."

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