Dutch majority community-owned wind farm opens

STORY: Zeewolde in the Netherlands is home to one of the country's newest and largest onshore wind farms, capable of generating enough electricity for 300,000 households.

But what really sets the 320 megawatt site apart is the fact that most of the farmers and residents of the small community, around 30 miles east of Amsterdam, are shareholders.

The project general manager is Sjoerd Sieburgh Sjoerdsma.

"What is truly special is that it's a community project, it's neighborhood-owned. So everybody in this project area of around 200 square kilometers was eligible to participate. So that basically means that those persons who have the disadvantages of having wind turbines in their vicinity are the persons who can benefit from the wind farm. So everybody was able to become a participant in wind farm Zeewolde, to become a shareholder and more than 90% of all the persons in this project area became shareholders."

The Netherlands needs that kind of buy-in. I

t's lagging behind most European countries in green energy with just 12% of consumption coming from renewable sources in 2021.

A long list of offshore wind projects are under construction and onshore solar production is rising despite minimal government support.

But the anti-windmill lobby has grown in the Netherlands in recent years with opponents complaining of noise or what they call "horizon pollution" - as wind turbines are visible on the famously flat Dutch countryside.