Irish wind energy company Airtricity said today the Dutch government had given it permission to build a 284 mega-watt wind farm 40 kilometres off the country’s North Sea coast.
The company, which operates wind farms in Britain and Ireland and is developing further sites there and in the United States, did not say what the cost would be.
However, a source familiar with the deal said Airtricity would be investing about €700 million in the project “over the next number of years”.
Airtricity said it had been awarded exclusive rights to develop a site to the west of the seaside resort of Scheveningen after a number of environmental impact assessment (EIA) reports and a Public Works Act permit.
“This is a major step towards achieving full construction consent allowing Airtricity to exclusively develop the site,” the company said in a statement. “Before receiving the final permit, public hearings will be organised as well as a review by an independent EIA-committee.”
Chief executive Eddie O’Connor, who told Reuters in an interview last week that deals in the Netherlands and Germany were imminent, said the farm would be a key step towards proving the viability of his vision for a European network of wind farms in the seas of northern, western and southern Europe. “We see the Dutch market as an important one,” he said in the statement.
“This wind development will be an essential step in gaining experience for the major Supergrid project to come later.” With Europe increasingly reliant on imported fossil fuels for its energy supplies, Mr O’Connor is proposing a 10GW demonstration project – enough power for over 8 million homes – located offshore between the UK, the Netherlands and Germany.
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