All Fool's Day had nobody laughing at the Oosterbierum wind farm operated by utility association SEP. On the morning of April 1, one of the experimental 300 kW Holec turbines lost its blades in strong winds, almost exactly a year after a similar accident. Pressure from the Dutch wind community on SEP to close down the project is now increasing. The plant has been trouble plagued since its opening in 1990 with turbines at a standstill much of the time -- a fact all too often noted by passers-by who fail to be impressed by wind energy. The Dutch wind industry would like to see the outmoded Holec turbines, no longer made, replaced with state-of-the-art technology. Expressing the feelings of many in the industry, a cynical spokesman comments: "SEP has achieved its goal with Oosterbierum -- the utilities have proved that wind energy is not feasible within the next 50 years. If you do it their way, they are certainly right."
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