Farmers green label initiative

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Five years in the planning and five months in construction, the Netherlands' largest independent wind plant to be owned by the farming community was officially opened last month after going on-line at the end of August. Situated near Lutjewinkel in the province of Noord-Holland, the 11.4 MW Windpark Groetpolder is made up of 19, NEG Micon 600 kW turbines placed in the single line formation which has become so characteristic for modern day windmills in Holland.

The NEG Micon wind plant is owned by a group of seven Noord-Holland farmers who joined forces in Windmolens Groetpolder BV to raise the NLG 25 million investment in the project. Annual production is expected to be in the region of 24 million kWh, and both the electricity and the green labels attached to it have been contracted to regional power company ENW for what Dirk Nobel of Windmolens Groetpolder describes as a "satisfactory price."

Inspired on holiday

The idea for the farmers' initiative came from a Nobel family holiday in Denmark, explains Dirk Nobel. A long-time wind enthusiast, the apparent unreliability of wind turbines elsewhere in Noord Holland had left him sceptical about the feasibility of a large-scale project. "But in Denmark all the blades were turning," he recalls, "and after visiting four manufacturers I was determined to go-ahead."

Without more ado he imported from Denmark and installed a Micon 600 kW on his land and began working on plans for the Groetpolder plant. "It's still a bit of a risk," he says, "as we won't begin to see a return on our investment for another ten years, but so far everything has gone very well."

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