The saga of the NLG 35 million Kreekrak wind plant, which suffered a two year delay costing NLG 400,000, has not set a good example for the business of wind energy development in Holland, comments Peter Blom of Triodos Bank. The bank is the third member of the project's development consortium, Kreekraksluizen BV. The other members are two electricity utilities, Deltan and Nuon. Project construction is being organised by Energy Connection of Delft.
Originally Kreekraksluizen BV had chosen to use NedWind turbines, at that time the only 500 kW design which had been certified for sale on the Dutch market. When other makes received their certification, Kreekraksluizen BV decided to change horse in mid race and ask Vestas of Denmark to supply its 500 kW for the site. Furious, NedWind took Kreekraksluizen BV to court over the issue, claiming the developer had agreed to use NedWind turbines. The court threw the case out, leaving the path clear for Vestas, which at that time was convinced it would receive the big order (Windpower Monthly, October 1993).
Meantime, though, the Dutch authority administering wind energy subsidies, Novem, said government support of the project would be withdrawn if NedWind turbines were not used. Novem argued that subsidy regulations did not allow a developer to change its mind over choice of turbine once support had been granted -- a rule which was later rescinded, but not in time to help either Kreekraksluizen BV or Vestas.
According to Henk den Boon from Energy Connection, the Nedwind 40 turbine is now a proven design. The risk of blade failures, such as that which occurred recently in the Volkerak wind farm (Windpower Monthly, February 1995), has been minimised by using stronger blades and a safety regulation for every single turbine.