Four months after the issue of an official "start memorandum" by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, authorities in Zeeland have granted provisional agreement for a 100 MW near-shore pilot wind farm in the mouth of the Westerschelde (Windpower Monthly, August 1998). With this approval, along with the expiry of the deadline for written objections, the project has moved significantly closer to realisation. Whether the project will be sited off the Zeeland coast, or further north by Wijk aan Zee, remains to be determined. The initial consultancy period which drew to a close on September 18 produced no serious objections from local residents at either location. The Zeeland regional council notes that "while we do not believe that near-shore developments are in themselves sufficient to achieve the targets laid out in the 1991 [Environmental Action Plan] agreement, we are certain that the future of wind energy in the Netherlands lies at sea in both near-shore and offshore projects." The council will reach a definitive position when the full consequences for the environment and landscape are known. Stan Dessens, director-general at the economic affairs ministry, has said construction could begin within two years if all approvals are granted.
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