Dutch wind boom set to continue -- Ambitious provincial plans

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The latest evidence that the Dutch wind boom is continuing apace comes from the southerly coastal provinces of Zeeland and Zuid Holland, where the provincial governments have announced plans for some 330 MW of new wind capacity. In Zeeland, the regional government has identified two sites for new developments totalling 130 MW. The first will comprise a single 50 MW wind station near the coastal flood defence system, Neeltje Jans, in the mouth of the Oosterschelde river. The second project is a further 80 MW to be built in an industrial area east of Vlissingen on the Westerchelde.

"Although the plans are still at a very early stage, we are looking at a project of something like 25, 2 MW machines for Neeltje Jans," says Louis Engelbert of the provincial government. "Neeltje Jans is a beautiful piece of civil engineering and we want to build a wind plant which will compliment it, although nothing is definitive as yet and we have to be very careful as it is at precisely this phase that such plans are most vulnerable."


Significantly, the Rijkswaterstaat Zeeland -- the authority charged with maintaining the province's all important water management systems -- is now actively collaborating on the plans, "Something that was not previously the case," says Engelbert. He attributes the change from a negative to positive attitude to the fact that the Rijkswaterstaat was one of the signatories to the national wind target covenant, the BLOW accord, under which Zeeland agreed to install at least 205 MW by 2010. Zeeland currently has installed capacity of 60 MW, of which just 13 MW has been built since 1999. There is now some 100 MW in development, says Engelbert, not counting any development at Neeltje Jans and the Sloegebeid.

Announcing the plans, provincial representative Ton Poppelaars, of the ruling CDA party, said the proposals were an attempt to inject some urgency into the process of reaching the province's renewable energy targets. He also said that noise regulations could be adjusted if necessary to facilitate the 80 MW in the Sloegebeid. "Our main concern is that the new turbines would not spoil the landscape," he stressed.

In Zuid Holland, where existing capacity stands at 80 MW, the regional government has promised to build 250 MW of new capacity by 2010 rather than the 205 MW agreed under the BLOW accord. Sites for this new capacity have been outlined in a draft memorandum known as WERVEL, a wind energy spatial vision and planning map. These include substantial developments around Gouda, Zoetermeeer, Delft and near Dordrecht. According to provincial councillor Dirk Dekker, total capacity in the province could reach up to 330 MW before 2010 -- enough to provide 275,000 households with green power."

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