Nieuws - 8 februari 2011

Wind in the sails at Lelystad

On a Lelystad site owned by Wageningen UR, the biggest wind energy laboratory in Europe took off on Tuesday. Companies from home and abroad can test the latest prototypes here.

Actually, no new wind turbines were going to be allowed in Flevoland province, said provincial deputy Anne Bliek. With 600 of the machines in action, her province has reached its limit and there has been a moratorium on new turbines since 2005. But an exception has been made for Wageningen UR's plans. One of the main arguments for this is the job creation that goes with Test Site Lelystad, as it is officially called. Both Lelystad and Wageningen UR benefit from this.

The new Test Site is a development by Acrres, the Wageningen centre for sustainable energy applications and green raw materials, also located on the Runderweg in Lelystad. Wageningen makes money by renting out office space. Executive board member Tijs Breukink also emphasizes the spin-offs created by the arrival of the wind turbine companies. Not just in the form of job creation and the renting of office space on the site, but also in the form of contacts and collaborations which could lead to interesting things. 'Besides, we opt for wind because that fits our image.' Wageningen UR has 26 wind turbines of its own in the polder. And since the start of this year the whole institution has been running on wind power.

The test site itself is to be run by a daughter company of Eneco, Ecofys, which has set up a special company for the purpose: Ecofys Wind Turbine Testing Services. The twelve locations on the two by three-kilometre site are rented out to seven local and foreign companies. The first turbine is already under construction and belongs to STX Windpower. This originally Korean company has already been located in Lelystad for a couple of years. STX rents space for forty people.
The twelve turbines that will be erected on the site will produce 30 megawatts between them. For Wageningen UR it is important that the turbines can keep turning. Because that will make money, says Breukink: the takings depend on the extent to which the test park is used. Most of the money earned will be ploughed into animal and plant-related research, says Breukink.

In the way
Next summer, the Dutch company Lagerweij will begin work on constructing a turbine. 'We want to certify a new type of mill, knows as a direct drive, which doesn't have cogs', explains director Henk Lagerweij. Up to now, Lagerweij had to go abroad for these sorts of tests and certification. Lagerweij is happy with the new possibilities, but does have one criticism. 'Only some of the readings can be used for certification. That is because there are other turbines nearby, and they get in the way of the wind from certain directions.'