Government's offshore wind power development policy criticised

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Good intentions are not always enough when it comes to wind power development policy, according to Ruud van Leeuwen of Greenpeace Netherlands. His comment refers to the Dutch government's new offshore wind strategy, part of its fifth national policy document on spatial planning. "At first it seems like a really nice plan, but when you look at it carefully, it's not nice at all," Van Leeuwen says. The strategy calls for 6000 MW of offshore wind power licenses to be issued for two "preferred wind energy areas" within a tender system. First, Van Leeuwen points out, there is no deadline, and it is not stipulated whether 6000 MW is a maximum or minimum. Second, the "preferred areas" are more leftovers from all other areas not already taken by other interests. Plus, their status is unclear as to whether wind will have priority over other sectors, he comments. No wind turbines can be built outside the preferred areas and smaller projects must be developed first. "If you want to build a 1500 MW wind farm, you'll have to wait for your competitors to fill in the first area until you can apply for the other area." Concessions will not be granted until 2003-4, which means the 5500 MW of applications currently on the government's desks must be resubmitted in two years.

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