Record wind power growth in 2021, but onshore wind construction levels off again

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Enough wind turbines were added last year to supply nearly 1.5 million Dutch homes with electricity, according to new figures released Friday by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO). This is a record, but the construction of wind turbines will stabilize further in the years to come, partly because of uncertainties about the rules on noise pollution.

The capacity of all onshore wind turbines – excluding the North Sea wind farms – increased by 27% to nearly 5.3 gigawatts. The RVO expects an additional 0.9 gigawatts of power to be added over the next two years. The number of wind turbines is growing at a much slower rate each year.

In fact, there should be at least 6 gigawatts of wind turbines on earth by 2020. This was agreed in 2013 in the energy agreement, but the target will not be achieved until three years later. The delay was compensated by the faster than expected growth in the number of solar panels.

Windmills are very unevenly distributed in the Netherlands. Flevoland produces more than a quarter of all wind energy, while there are hardly any wind turbines in Overijssel and Utrecht.

The Cabinet is working on new noise standards

The construction of wind turbines on land is encountering more and more objections from local residents who are initiating lengthy appeal procedures, notes the RVO. They often plead before the Council of State, which means that it can take a long time before projects start, or even get out of hand.

Last year, the State Council repealed national rules that prescribed noise and shadow levels from wind farms. Projects that do not yet have permits are therefore subject to considerable delays. The cabinet hopes to be able to draw up new rules this year, which should come into force sometime next year.

Wind power production in the North Sea is increasing

In the coming years, the production of wind energy in the North Sea will accelerate more and more. The cabinet doubled the ambition for the number of offshore wind turbines, so that by 2031 there must be at least 21 gigawatts of wind turbines.

That’s more than enough to power the whole country on a windy day. Some of the wind turbines are to be used to produce green hydrogen, which can help make the industry more sustainable.

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