Clouds of doubt roll in again

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Plans for a 300 MW wind plant in the IJsselmeer lake near the Afsluitdijk -- the sea barrier linking the Dutch provinces of Noord Holland and Friesland -- look increasingly uncertain. Economics minister Annemarie Jorritsma has reportedly told a local councillor there is a risk the project will not clear all the planning hurdles and be cancelled. According to the Leeuwarder Courant newspaper, Jorritsma fears it would damage "the fundamental qualities and characteristics of the area."

Mariolien Wester of the economy ministry, however, says the newspaper gives a "far too negative impression" of the ministry's attitude. Wester says Jorritsma "still has great expectations of the wind farm, but that the cabinet will only be able to take a final decision when the preliminary reports and planning processes have been completed." In short, says Wester, the message from the Hague to the provincial authorities involved is, "Get on with your work, you still have full ministerial support."

The Frisian authorities have requested a meeting between all the ministries before further resources are committed. Scrapping the project would have serious consequences for Friesland as 150 MW of its 200 MW wind target is planned for realising in the IJsselmeer.

Meanwhile, the province of Noord Holland, the project's co-developer, seems to have acknowledged that it is unlikely to achieve its targeted 250 MW on the back of a large wind farm in the IJsselmeer. It is moving to stimulate wind development elsewhere (Windpower Monthly, October 1999).

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