Netherlands

Netherlands

Dutch province looks to fifty per cent -- Ambitious repowering policy

The Dutch province with the most wind capacity to its credit says it now wants to secure half its total electricity needs from wind plant sited within its borders. After a series of public consultations, regional planners have incorporated the target in a policy statement. If adopted, it will see the province's wind capacity climb from 393 MW to more than a 1000 MW over the next decade.

Flevoland, the Dutch province with the most wind capacity to its credit, says it now wants to secure half its total electricity needs from wind plant sited within its borders. After a series of public consultations, regional planners have incorporated the target in a policy statement. If adopted by the Flevoland governing council, it will see the province's wind capacity climb from 393 MW to more than a 1000 MW over the next decade. That would mean Flevoland contributing two-thirds of the Netherlands' target for 1500 MW of wind plant on land.

The increase will not require many more turbines than the 400 already operating in the province, says Andries Greiner, the Flevoland councillor responsible for economics and physical planning. "Wherever possible we will rationalise and scale-up the existing turbines," he says. His view is supported by Flevoland's regional wind planner, Jan van den Berg: "The emphasis will be very much on quantitative improvements, with the total number of turbines even decreasing," he says. "Because we were early starters with wind we have a lot of outdated turbines, so the potential for upgrading is huge. At one site we have fifty turbines with output of just three hundred kilowatt."

The provincial authorities are considering ways of encouraging the province's farmers, who own 70% of the wind plant, to upgrade their machines. "We won't be replacing turbines before the end of their operational life," says Van den Berg, "But it is envisaged that we will move towards a more participatory model, with existing owners taking a share in a larger wind farm which won't necessarily be built on their own property." Care will be taken to integrate larger wind turbines into the landscape in the best way possible, he adds.

Greiner says that in conjunction with presentation of the policy statement to the whole council, an excursion to Germany to view a number of wind farms has been planned for all councillors. He is convinced large wind turbines can be successfully incorporated into Flevoland's open landscape. "I believe that turbines are as much a part of the landscape as open water," he states.

Van den Berg is optimistic the policy statement will be adopted by the council when it comes to the vote in September. In addition to its open landscape and extensive shoreline, Flevoland, which was recovered from the waters of the IJsselmeer in the 1950s and 1960s, has a political mix uniquely favourable to wind development.

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