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Dr. Pieter Lukkes, professor em. of geography
WINDENERGY COSTS MONEY AND LIVEABILITY

In The Netherlands a creeping and extremely expensive windturbine-industrialisationprocess takes place. In a foreseeable future this process will cause a financial burden to the people of € 2,5 billion per annum. Normal operating-time of the turbines is 20 years. So ultimately the sumtotal of costs will be € 50 billion. This is 10 times the amount of money that is donated for the reconstruction of Afghanistan by 60 nations on the Tokyo donorconference! € 50 billion is an incredible sum of money that can be spent much better than for windenergy. Therefore the spilling windenergy-policy of Jorritsma (minister of economic affairs) and Pronk (minister of physical planning and environment) has to be stopped. If necessary Prime Minister Kok and Zalm (finance minister) should intervene. 

Official policy is to establish in The Netherlands in the next 20 years a capacity of 7.500 MW of windenergy; 1.500 MW land-based and 6.000 MW offshore. As a result many open rural regions will degenerate into industrial areas. Like in Germany, where 400 actiongroups protest against the deterioration of their spatial environments, in The Netherlands awareness is growing that in this country the same may happen. Nowadays protests against windturbines sound from all over the country.
The envisaged turbine-projects will demand an investment of at least € 20 billion. Their estimated annual output will be 30 billion kWh. Subsidies can be acquired on investments as well as on merchandising the electricity. The subsidies in question accumulate to the abovementioned € 2,5 billion per annum and € 50 billion over a period of 20 years. This means, that we and the future taxpayers get an enormous financial millstone around our neck. No escape is possible. Once the thousands of turbines are installed, stopping the process will be more expansive than continuating. So it is a matter of “no return”. In this context it is distressing, that the billions of euros are to be spent on a technology from an antiquated box without promising perspectives. So there is no deliberate policy to invest in innovative technologies, aiming to enhance Holland’s position as a technologically advanced country. 

What is the yield of the financial drain? Environmental improvements or a less rapid rise of the sea level? The answer is: no. Fortunately most of the companies, which are commercially involved in the wind-industry business, are so fair to legitimate their efforts by mentioning financial arguments only. On the other hand powerful organizations like Greenpeace and World Wildlife Fund  try hard to sell the fairy tale, that windenergy can be of great importance in saving environment and climate. Sad to say that numerous politicians believe that myth. 

No myth at all is InterGen’s (68% Shell) intention to install an 800 MW power station near Rotterdam, investing € 0.5 billion only. The station’s energetic yield will be 57%. Consequently no more than 8 of those plants suffice for the production of as much electricity as the abovementioned thousands of windturbines can generate. In contrast to windturbines, those plants will provide high-grade electricity at competitive prices. 

Another important advantage is that landscapes will remain intact. In case this alternative is adopted no less than € 48 billion from the € 50 billion will be saved. In this way an enormous bulk of money is available for technological impulses and for  relieving numerous social needs in education, health, ecology, safety, public transportation and so on. It is a great pity that The Hague (Government) prefers to drop the billions in the water. How alert is the Second Chamber?
        
Leeuwarden, February 2002
 

This is a free translation of an article published on the 6th of February in the leading Dutch financial journal: HET FINANCIEELE DAGBLAD.
 

09.02.2002http://WilfriedHeck.tripod.com