"Basically we want to see if mini-turbines cause less nuisance problems than grid connected machines," says Terpstra. "Specifically we want to see if they are more acceptable to local residents and local planners than larger turbines." A government grant of EUR 200,000 will help home and business owners buy and install mini-turbines on their premises.
After news of the program leaked to the press, there has been a keen response from people wanting to take part in the program, says Terpstra. "Ideally we would hope that there would be at least thirty installations in each province and I think we will reach that."
For the Netherlands to meet its target of 1500 MW installed onshore wind capacity by 2010, the government has agreed regional targets with all the Dutch provinces. Friesland currently has to build 102 MW to hit its 200 MW target, Groningen has built 64 MW of a total of 165 MW while Drenthe still has to find 14 MW to meet its modest 15 MW target. The installation of mini turbines, with average rated capacities of 2.5 kW, is not going to contribute significantly to the wind targets acknowledges Terpstra. The initiative is merely to test new technology and its acceptance by the public.
The Dutch Turby is currently undergoing trials on the roof of an apartment block in Tilburg and alongside the A50 motorway where, along with two German made Tulip mini-turbines, the transport ministry of Transport is testing its suitability for powering motorway lighting and traffic information boards.
In the inland province of Utrecht, which has met just 0.2 MW of its 50 MW target, the regional council is adopting the opposite approach to integrating turbines into the densely populated Dutch landscape. Confronted with some 4500 written protests against existing plans for wind plant on five sites, it is contemplating scrapping at least two of the original sites in the hope that increases in the rated capacity of turbines will reduce the number of actual wind turbines that have to be built. Which of the five sites are to be rejected is to be decided later this year.