Eemmeerdijk battle finally won

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After a nine year battle with Dutch planning authorities and environmental groups, construction has finally begun on a 19 MW wind farm on the Eemmeerdijk in Flevoland. With site preparation already underway the project's developer, utility NUON based in Arnhem, is confident that "Windpark Eemmeerdijk" will be operational in December.

The wind farm's 19, 1 MW Nedwind 50 wind turbines will be sited in line formation over 4500 metres and will supply some 11,000 households. The output has been earmarked for NUON's green electricity scheme under which some 5000 domestic customers and numerous small businesses currently pay a premium price for electricity generated from renewable resources. The Eemmeerdijk project will be the utility's second such green power wind farm and brings the total number of NUON-sponsored wind projects to eight. Of the 337 MW of installed wind capacity in the Netherlands, NUON has supplied 105 MW.

Windpark Eemmeerdijk will be the first major development to make use of Nedwind's 1 MW model, which will be supplied in a twin-drive version with a 55 metre rotor and 60 metre tower. To date the Rhenen-based manufacturer's most powerful model has only been used at a four unit site at Moerdijk on the Hollands Diep.

Development of the Eemmeerdijk plant was delayed by protracted disputes with environmental group Milieu Federatie Flevoland, the Bunschoten local council, and local farmers concerned about the plant's ecological impact on the Flevoland nature reserve. As late as November the fate of the project looked bleak. But a surprise decision by the Raad van State -- the Dutch government's highest advisory body -- overturning the objections finally cleared the way for development in December.

In light of the sensitivity of the location, NUON hopes to minimise the visual impact of the project through a design scheme in which each of the turbine towers will be painted a different colour echoing the hues of the surrounding landscape.

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