Wind Power In The Netherlands 2021: An Exportable Model? Everything You Need To Know About The Clean Energy Industry In The Netherlands


The renewable and clean energy industry has seen a lot of publicity in recent years. Green energy is a buzzword not only in politics but also in academic and business circles as well. Gone are the days of the archaic notion of fossil fuels sustaining our global energy demands into the 21st century.

And, it’s not just a national issue, there have been several global initiatives to move our society away from it’s dependence on the limited consumable resources we have available.

The EU has been a leader in such progressive though setting a goal to have each member generate 10% of their energy in a renewable fashion. The Netherlands are leading the way with a significant wind energy program.

The Dutch Model

The Dutch have a long history with wind-power, with memorable and widespread use of windmills, as opposed to water-driven mills, throughout the industrial revolution. Dutch windmills have long been an icon of the Netherlands and Dutch people, so it is of little surprise that the Dutch decided to move in this direction with their renewable energy industry.

According to databases stored at windpower.com, wind power has grown from an estimated 319 MW production capacity in 1997 to an estimated 2,328 MW production capacity. This represents approximately a 730% growth in just 14 years.

The Netherlands has windfarms all over the country, with onshore and offshore wind farms. At the end of 2009, there were 1879 onshore wind turbines. More recently, offshore wind farms have become a significant national focus, with two large offshore farms, generating enough power to light 250,000 homes at the end of 2008.

The Dutch hope to build 6000MW of offshore wind power by 2020.

The major reason that the Netherlands has been so successful in developing this industry related to the subsidies the government put into place which guaranteed 0.18€ per KWh, which cost the government some 6B€ (6 billion Euros).

As of 2011, the government had stopped subsidizing the industry nearly this much, dropping them down to 1.5B€. The encouraged the private sector to continue this growth, and reap it’s benefits if successful.

Can It Be Imported?

It is this sort of action that the United States needs to adopt to really make wind power a viable option for the country’s energy demands. Without significant government subsidies, the wind-energy industry will have a hard time getting off the ground.

However, just as the Netherlands did, these subsidies would likely be limited in duration and scope, allowing the private sector to take over once the infrastructure has been established and viability has been demonstrated.

Presently, tax credits are the most significant incentive provided by the government, which is insufficient to accelerate the growth of the industry in any meaningful way.

Also, much like the example the Dutch have set, offshore wind farms should be a priority, as these turbines provide a solid source of energy while avoiding some of the issues the public has with wind power – namely aesthetic issues with noise and the large turbines marring the landscape.

Green energy research is another top priority, in which a considerable amount of attention has been dedicated to the long-term storage of energy generated from sources such as wind and solar power, as these sources of power have more erratic power outputs than traditional energy sources.

It will likely take a concentrated effort by legislation, scientists, and public support for wind energy in the United States to import the Netherlands wind energy policy, but, it is very possible. And, that is very encouraging.

Sources:

  • http://www.thewindpower.net/country_en_10_netherlands.php
  • http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_power_in_the_Netherlands
  • http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/1021714.stm

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