One of the Netherlands’ biggest onshore wind farms has responded to initial hostility from nearby residents by inviting them to invest in the project.
Wind energy development in the country has raised local opposition from people concerned about noise pollution, as well as the “horizon pollution” of making wind turbines visible on the “famously flat Dutch countryside,” Reuters reports. So developers of the 320-MW Windpark Zeewolde BV, 50 kilometres east of Amsterdam, solved the problem by inviting most of the area’s farmers and residents in as shareholders.
“People sometimes are not happy with the wind turbines,” said project investor Regina de Groot, owner of a nearby organic farming company. “But if the wind turbines are owned by all of us and everyone can benefit from them, then I think people will look at them in a more positive way.”
The local investors have formed a stakeholder group, “De Nieuwe Molenaars” (The New Millers), and will receive a proportional share of the profits from the project, Reuters says. While the approach has worked well in Denmark, the news agency says the Netherlands “has lagged most European countries in green energy with just 12% of consumption from renewable sources in 2021.”
The investment deal meant that “everybody was able to become a participant,” said general manager Sjoerd Sieburgh, “and more than 90% of all the people in this project area became shareholders.”