Dutch counter-terror officials have highlighted ‘extremist’ wind turbine protesters alongside Islamists and the far right in the country’s latest terrorism threat report.
At least two companies building new wind turbines in the Netherlands have cancelled construction projects ‘out of fear of attacks and have lost millions’ of euros in damage, the NCTV counter-terrorism agency said.
The NCTV’s latest report read: ‘Extremist protest actions by a small group of anonymous activists against the erection of wind turbines in the Drenthe and Groningen provinces have continued and hardened in the last few months.’
The problem has become so bad that even the police have set up a special team to investigate a number of threatening letters sent by activists.
In one case in April, an unnamed company dropped a contract after receiving a warning giving it 48 hours to ‘change your mind about building the turbines’.
The threatening letter, according to Dutch public broadcaster NOS, said: ‘If you don’t take action, you can take the money you are making there at our expense, and spend it on security for you and your company.’
Another company in neighbouring Drenthe received a similar intimidating letter.
Famed for its iconic, traditional windmills, the Netherlands is becoming more reliant on modern wind farms as it tries to meet EU climate accords – with a target of 14 per cent sustainable energy set for 2020.
The lowlands country is also seeking alternative fuel sources as it scales down gas extraction from Europe’s largest field in Groningen province following a series of earthquakes.
But the announcement of new wind farms has led to fierce protests by local residents.
This in turn has lead to illegal asbestos dumping at prospective turbine sites and posters depicting local officials in Nazi hats.
Last week, police arrested three men in connection with the threats and the asbestos dumping, which carries a 12-year sentence for ‘serious endangerment of the public health’.
There are currently more than 2,500 wind turbines on land and 289 turbines in the North Sea, according to Dutch government figures.
Dutch climate activists have been pushing for the country to be running off sustainable energy as early as 2030.
That would mean some 4,250 land-based wind turbines and 3,750 at sea, according to the Dutch society for sustainable energy (NVDE).