A veteran independent power producer from Toronto has commissioned what officials in the Netherlands describe as “one of the world’s largest offshore wind farms,” whose 150 turbines located 85 kilometres off the country’s coast in the North Sea will provide enough power to supply 785,000 Dutch households.
Northland Power holds a 60% majority share in the $US3-billion, 600-megawatt Gemini wind farm, which began producing its first electrons last December. “We are now officially in the operational stage,” said Managing Director Matthias Haag.
The Gemini field’s distance from shore made it “quite a complex” undertaking, Haag said. “It took a lot of logistics.” With its official commissioning, however, the facility has increased the Netherlands’ wind power capacity by about a third, The Guardian reports, helping it reduce its dependence on fossil fuels for “about 95% of its energy supply.”
In business since 1987 and publicly traded since 1997, Northland describes itself as “one of Canada’s first independent power producers, operating facilities [in Canada and Europe] that generate 1,754 MW of electricity, with an additional 332 MW under construction.”
Its minority investment partners in the Gemini project are leading turbine maker Siemens Wind Power of Germany, Dutch Van Oord Dredging and Marine Contractors, and a Dutch waste processing company, N.V. HVC. Northland also holds a larger, 85% stake in a 332-MW wind farm in the German sector of the North Sea.
For all its success in Europe, offshore wind has been slow to find a footing in Canada. Last year, the province of Ontario was assessed a $28-million penalty by a trade dispute panel for its surprise cancellation of a previously permitted wind farm that U.S.-based Windstream Energy LLC had planned to build in Lake Ontario.