Holland's Afsluitdijk 300 MW plan rejected by parliament

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The Dutch parliament has rejected cabinet-backed plans for the long-mooted 300 MW Inter-Provincial Windpark Afsluitdijk (IPWA) project ,which would have stretched across the Afsluitdijk from the waters of the Waddenzee in the north to the Ijsselmeer in the south. A cross-party majority rejected the plans on the grounds that it would spoil the open character of the landscape and result in high numbers of bird deaths. The decision looks to have put an end to a saga which stretches back to 1997 when the plans were first launched by the provinces of Noord Holland and Friesland together with the power companies Nuon and ENW, now merged into one. Always controversial, the plans even drew opposition from within the wind industry, with critics arguing that building in the environmentally sensitive Waddenzee would never secure EU approval and has effectively put on hold further wind development in Friesland since 1997. Both Friesland and Noord Holland had relied on the project to meet their nationally covenanted installed capacity targets of 200 MW and 205 MW, respectively. To date Friesland has only 73 MW built and Noord Holland 75 MW. The Friesland regional government now says it will not be making plans for alternative sites on land. But a Friesland environmental association, the Friese mileufederatie, a strong opponent of the IPWA, claims there are good alternative sites in industrial areas between Harlingen and Leeuwarden and the Sneek, Heerenveen, Drachten region. Noord Holland will continue building on land but cannot make up the shortfall following the loss of the IPWA project, says the regional government's Krijn van Rijn.

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