The plan sets out how at least 6,000 megawatts of onshore wind power can be installed in the Netherlands in the coming years. New installations are “crucial” if the country is to meet its 2020 renewable targets, according to the NWEA. The recently elected coalition government pledged earlier this year to source 16% of the country’s final energy consumption from renewables by 2020. This is a slight increase compared to the country’s 14% target under the EU renewables directive, but will mean a significant increase in the country’s wind power given that only 2.4 GM of energy are currently provided by wind.
For the past two years, differences of opinion between the Dutch government and the provinces over who has control of certain areas of land has stifled growth in the wind sector. An administrative agreement between the central and regional authorities at the start of the year, followed by plans setting out how land can be used for onshore turbines, means that projects that have been stalled can get back on track and “we can make up for lost time,” says Ton Hirdes, director at NWEA.
The organisation believes that there are now opportunities for large-scale and smaller wind power projects and that it is now “up to the provinces to determine where growth can take place”.
Meanwhile, at the end of February, the government of Wallonia, the French-speaking region of Belgium, also took steps to give greater certainty to the development of future wind turbines, when it finally agreed a new regulatory framework for the sector. It also published a draft map showing the areas in the region most likely to produce the most wind power. A final map should be adopted by the end of the year.
Between now and 2020, Wallonia plans to produce 4,500 GWh of wind energy a year, up from1,200 GWh today. The new framework clearly sets out the minimal distance between wind turbines and inhabited areas and the minimal distance allowed between wind farms; prioritises the installation of wind masts along the side of motorways and railway lines; defines the zones where wind turbines must not be erected.
EDORA, the organisation representing renewable energy producers, welcomed the news with “relief”. It said: “Investors hope that this will end the period of uncertainty that has undermined the development of the sector. The long-awaited clarification of installation criteria should allow…the delivery of new permits”.