Government identifies new locations for onshore wind farms

Following consultations with the country's provincial authorities, the government has identified 11 potential locations for the construction of large-scale wind farms between now and 2020. The plans are set out in the Draft Policy Strategy for Onshore Wind Energy, approved by the Cabinet on the recommendation of infrastructure and environment minister Melanie Schultz van Hagen and economic affairs minister Henk Kamp.

The sites identified by the government are suitable for wind energy projects with an output of over 100 MW. However, in the course of 2013 the provincial authorities will also draft policy strategies for wind energy projects with a smaller individual output. All the locations are needed in order to generate a total of 6,000 MW. This amounts to around 2,000 wind turbines providing sufficient electricity for an average of 3.6 million homes per year. It is now up to the market to make the projects a reality.

The locations proposed by the provincial authorities in the draft policy strategy are all subject to frequent and strong winds: Eemshaven, Delfzijl, the vicinity of the N33 main road near Groningen, the former agricultural pauper colonies in Drenthe, Wieringermeer, IJsselmeer Noord, Flevoland, the Noordoostpolderdijk, the port of Rotterdam, Goeree-Overflakkee and Krammersluizen.

The bulk of the energy - 1,370 MW - will be generated in Flevoland Province. Several of the designated locations contain villages and scattered houses. Local residents will be involved from an early stage in the placement of wind turbines in the local landscape.

Onshore wind energy could help to generate up to 16% of the sustainable energy required by 2020. In view of climate change and the growing scarcity of fossil fuels, a switch to more sustainable energy supplies is a national necessity.