The Dutch electricity grid is located in many places full. In the province of North Holland alone, there are over a thousand other large companies and organizations that can no longer get in touch. This is why the county wants to build an “energy center” in Wieringermeer. But the residents and the municipality of Hollands-Kroon are surprised and can’t wait for more industrialization in the area.
The yet to be built power system is described in a Energy vision concept. According to Noord-Holland, Hollands-Kroon municipality can develop into a “national energy centre”. For example, a high-voltage plant, a hydrogen plant, and an electricity “landing place” could be built from offshore wind farms.
Jan Meijles belongs to the action group “Red de Wieringermeer”, which opposes the plans: “The province says: electricity, electricity, electricity. And so high-voltage lines must be installed across open landscapes throughout the north of the Netherlands.” The word “population” is missing in the plans. “We haven’t been heard in any way.”
The municipality is also not satisfied with the situation. “We really didn’t expect this,” says Alderman Lillian Peters. “We should have heard about the plans from the media.”
The deputy district of North Holland denies this. Edward Steiger: “We’ve included all the municipalities in the Energy Vision process. So they’ve been involved in both the draft version and the discussions. But I understand very well that it’s a shock to an alderman or any other municipality if you see this pass on a map image.”
It is no coincidence that these plans cause turmoil in the Netherlands Crohn. A few years ago, the former municipal council rolled out the red carpet for energy-hungry data centers.
The fields must give way to the power grid
For ship engine company Sandfirden Technics in Den Auver – in Hollands-Kroon municipality – the plans are good news. The company suffers greatly from the full power grid and has invested heavily in sustainability in recent years. Among other things with 650 solar panels. “With the idea that we could also bring the supply back into the grid. But unfortunately that’s not possible. We found out when the panels were already on the roof here,” says manager Bart Bakker.
The lack of network capacity is now costing the company a lot of money. Packer: “It means that sustainability will become really expensive for us, rather than achieving anything.”
Sanne Akerboom is examining decision making for the energy transition in the North of the Netherlands. According to her, the county handled the matter very clumsily by surprising residents with concrete plans. “The county is zero behind in this process and will now have to fend for itself first because of everything that has been written down,” says Akerbom. You think it will be difficult to convince people to think of alternative solutions. And that can be very difficult for the rest of the process.”
The county maintains that these are only draft plans for an energy center. Nothing is fixed. “No choice has been made yet as to what will go where. This still needs a follow-up process. But the question of whether the power grid should be expanded has been answered with a yes,” MP Stegter says.
This applies to all of the Netherlands. Alderman Peters hopes the province, as well as other authorities, will learn from the situation in Holland Kroon. “For these types of major landscape changes, the county should immediately cooperate with the municipality, residents, and businesses. Don’t roll out a plan around people.”
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