Ministers pick three offshore wind farm locations, revise earlier plan

Ministers have revised their plans to build nine small offshore wind farms and will focus instead on three main sites closer to the coast.

Coastal communities had campaigned hard against the earlier decision, saying they were worried about the impact on tourism and bird life.

Work will start on the first of the big three wind farms off the coast of Borssele in Zeeland next year. The two others – one off Zuid-Holland and one off Noord-Holland – will start up two years later.

Cost

Economic affairs minister Henk Kamp said on Friday the original plan to scatter the wind farms in several areas was too expensive. The new plan will be €4.2bn cheaper over 15 years and will have less of an impact on the horizon, Kamp said.

The Borssele wind turbines will be 22 kilometres from the shore, the others will be at a distance of 18.5 kilometres.

Ministers have also agreed to change the procedures for awarding the licences. Companies which develop the best and cheapest plans will be given licenses and subsidies at the same time, Kamp said.

Energy group Eneco said in a reaction the change of plan will cause considerable delays and threaten the government’s target of reaching 14% green energy production by 2020.

VVD parliamentarians have called for a further rethink, news agency ANP reports. They think the wind farms will be too close to the coast and will have a serious impact on the horizon.

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