It's Not Easy Going Green, Part V: Niet in mijn achtertuin.

I know a little about the costs of construction and maintenance of oil and gas platforms in a marine environment. I always wondered why it would be cheaper to install and maintain a windmill offshore.


Now I have my answer: it isn’t. Surprise, surprise.

Dutch fall out of love with windmills

Arguments over the high cost and maintenance of sea-based turbines, as well as complaints from residents about unsightly land-based models, have brought the Dutch to an impasse.

Offshore wind farms produce more electricity than onshore ones but it costs twice as much as onshore wind power due to the higher cost of materials, more expensive drilling methods, and more complex maintenance.

Wind turbines in the sea need to be more robust to withstand strong winds and salt water; their maintenance some miles away from the coast requires special equipment and transportation.

Sweet irony: the land of milk chocolate, wooden shoes and tulips has had it up to *here* with windmills.

Oh, well, at least they love the onshore windmills…

Onshore, wind turbines face local resistance.

In 1994, a group of entrepreneurial farmers around the Dutch town of Urk got together and decided to build the country’s largest onshore wind farm with 86 wind turbines nearby. Maxime Verhagen, then minister for economy, innovation and agriculture, said this would be enough to supply 900,000 people.

The project has since been adapted to meet changes in legislation and 20 years after it was launched, construction may finally start this year and be completed in 2014. The only thing holding up the project now is a lawsuit filed by local residents. They say the 30-meter-high wind turbines will spoil their views.

“If we have wind turbines here this old picture will be destroyed,” said the mayor, Jaap Kroon. “We are also concerned about the safety and noise.


Oh, and the birds. And bats. Let’s not forget the birds and bats.

Niet in mijn achtertuin.

h/t dennism. Cross-posted at



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