* North Holland says wants to cancel 20 pending projects
* Move to ban turbines prompts anger from Green party
By Thomas Escritt
AMSTERDAM, Sept 5 The Netherlands has been
famous for its windmills for centuries but now one of its most
populous provinces has said it wants to ban their modern-day
incarnations - wind turbines - on the grounds that they are ugly
The government of North Holland, home to the Netherlands'
largest city, Amsterdam, has authorised a giant wind power
project in the north of the province and had been considering
applications to construct 20 similar projects.
But on Wednesday it said it would not give any other wind
power projects the go-ahead after the existing project - which
will allow the province to fulfill its wind energy target - is
"Wind turbines had a maximum height of 25 metres or so, 30
years ago," said Frans Nederstigt, a spokesman for the
"Now they are modern machines of up to 120 metres, with
rotors up to 75 metres across - meaning a total height of 180
metres is not exceptional."
Turbines caused noise pollution, he added, saying that
sunlight flickering through turbine blades could also be a
distracting hazard for drivers.
The ban on future construction, which will probably be
approved by the provincial assembly within a few months, drew
criticism from the country's Green party which argues that the
turbines provide a clean renewable source of energy.
"North Holland's fight against windmills is a fight against
the future," said lawmaker Liesbeth van Tongeren, who accused
the province of "shutting its eyes" to the polluting effects of
The country has about 2,000 wind turbines generating more
than 2 gigawatts. But renewable energy still contributes less
than 4 percent of the country's power needs, well short of the
national target of 14 percent by 2020.
Nederstigt said the province was well on its way to meeting
national targets however. Future construction would be limited
to replacing old units, he added.
"We have about 300 turbines in the province generating about
330 megawatts, meaning North Holland is already a front-runner
in wind energy."
The province would continue to allow offshore wind energy
developments, he said, even though turbines at sea cost twice as
much as their land-based counterparts.
The Netherlands has been a leader in exploiting wind power
for centuries. Much of the country's land exists because it was
progressively reclaimed from the sea by using wooden windmills
to pump water out of low-lying coastal marshes.
(Reporting By Thomas Escritt; Editing by Andrew Osborn)