Government earmarks more parts of the North Sea for wind farms

The government has earmarked almost 1,500 square kilometers of the North Sea as potential sites for new offshore wind farms in an effort to meet sustainable energy targets.

All the areas are at least 22 kilometres from the coast and have already been assessed for the potential environmental impact, plus the effect on shipping. ‘Tailor-made solutions’ are being looked at to take account of fishing and oil and gas exploration, the government said in briefing.

One area, named Hollandse Kust, consists of a number of smaller blocks. The second lies north of the Wadden Sea islands.

The recent energy agreement drawn up by the government, industry, unions and green groups, includes a commitment to ensuring five million households are provided with electricity derived from wind farms within 10 years.

That will require 700 to 1,000 turbines of at least 120 metres high, the Volkskrant said at the weekend.

The Netherlands currently has two offshore wind farms which generate a combined 200 megawatts of power. Plans for the location of new wind farms will be finalised next year.

The government is allocating €18bn in subsidies over 15 years to help fund the new wind farms. The money is coming from an extra levy on household energy bills, the Volkskrant said.

This article has been edited to correct an error in the size of the area. Thanks to all readers who pointed this out.

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