Netherlands

Netherlands

Largest yet to go ahead in Holland

Seven years after the plans were first unveiled, Holland's highest court, the Raad van State, has finally approved construction of the 70-90 MW Delfzijl Zuid wind farm, the first phase of what its developers claim will be the biggest wind farm in Europe.

First proposed in 1997, Delfzijl Zuid, in the northern province of Groningen, originally consisted of 34, Tacke/Enron 1.5 MW machines. The long delay in winning siting approval has since allowed the developers Millenergy -- a joint venture of regional utility Essent and renewables specialists Koop Duurzame Energie -- along with electrical engineers Siemens Nederland, to substantially upgrade their plans. "We are now looking at building 34 turbines in the 2 MW to 2.5 MW range," says project manager Anne van Zwol of Koop Duurzaam. A decision on turbine supplier will be taken in April, she says. Construction will start this year.

Fierce resistance from local residents association Stichting Windhoek has turned the EUR 65 million wind plant development into one of the longest running sagas in Dutch wind. "Under Dutch planning law, we had to complete six separate permitting processes, each of which had four public consultation periods, which meant we had to argue the same case on 24 occasions," says Van Zwol.

He hopes the defeat of the Delfzijl Zuid objectors will ease the progress of two further projects in the area -- Delfzijl Noord at 45 MW and the huge Eemshaven wind farm, originally planned for 230 MW. Delfzijl Zuid will be owned and operated by all three members of the Millenergy consortium with Siemens responsible for construction of the farm and Koop Duurzaam's parent company, Koop Holding, providing the civil engineering and infrastructure. Whether Siemens will also be involved in the Delfzijl Noord and Eemshaven projects is not yet known, says Van Zwol.

Koop Duurzame Energie, a fully owned subsidiary of Dutch engineering concern the Koop Group, has a wind project portfolio that extends to Britain and China. In Britain, Koop has joined forces with UK concern Savills to form Infinergy Ltd to develop 192 MW of British projects. In China it has submitted applications for the development of some 460 MW of offshore wind in a joint venture with Behai Wind.

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