In Hoogwoud, there has been discussion and opposition about the plans for the construction of a solar park along the Koningspaden. In order to prevent unnecessary loss of landscape and very fertile agricultural land, the action committee has started a petition. It has now been signed by 750 people.
LTO Noord – the department in West Friesland – also steps into the breach. Why are they against the arrival of this solar park? Hoogwouder Erik Mooij, speaking on behalf of the action committee, lists a few reasons. “Take the nitrogen problem as an example: farmers who have to leave or have to cut back on the nature reserves. We don’t have that here, so we can continue to offer that food security.”
LTO Chair Trude Buysman shares this view: “You don’t have to sacrifice good soil. Food is going to be extremely important in the coming period. It has to remain affordable, but also safe. There are still plenty of rooftops that can accommodate solar panels. uses that cannot be produced because of the location. If there are no places, then we can talk about using nature.”
Meadow birds also breed here, and the area lies in a protected band of bell jars. “They have also climbed into the pen”, says Mooij. “The plan faces a lot of resistance.”
He would like to add one more point of view. “Look, we are against unnecessarily sacrificing landscape, because it can also be done differently. But then you have to come up with an alternative solution, as there is a task on the table. We are also aware of that,” emphasizes Mooij and points to the West West Frisian ambition to generate 0.7 terawatt-hours (TWh) of renewable energy by 2023. It is not yet clear how much Opmeer contributes to this. “About 23 GWh”, reasons Mooij. “But that’s not known yet. It still depends on the distribution key.”
Roof surface enough
Mooij mentions the use of roofs as an alternative. The roof area is potentially large (500,000 m2) in Opmeer. A calculation that can be compared to the construction of 70 football pitches. “The facts don’t lie, there is enough roof space. We must actively focus on that,” he says. “Take Action’s distribution center in Zwaagdijk-East as an example. We also have many companies here.”
Last Wednesday, Mooij together with the other ‘activators’ had a conversation about this with mayor Gerard van den Hengel and councilor Herman ter Veen (Sustainability). “It was positive. We were invited to sit at the drawing board. It’s a good step in the direction: we should try to help each other as much as possible and not stand against each other.”
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Solar park on 20 hectares
A landowner on Koningspaden has been found. Here, a solar park will be built on 20 hectares, enough to supply more than 8,100 households with electricity per year. According to Mooij, the farmer has already entered into an agreement with two commercial companies that have joined forces: Solar Fields from Utrecht. becomes an operator and Noord-Hollandse Energie Coöperatie from Alkmaar offers support.
Councilor Herman ter Veen (Sustainability): “The farmer wants to divide his land in two: 6 hectares go to nature development and 10 hectares to a solar park. The residents can also become owners, who can then participate in the decision. the shareholders. “
The outer area, which lies west of Hoogwoud, has been designated as a search area (Westerboekelweg) in the regional energy transition (RES) in Noord-Holland Noord. De Veken, where a new business park is being built, is also characterized as a search area. It is therefore not a bad idea for some commercial companies to make use of that leeway.
Nevertheless, Mooij points to Opmeer’s ambitions and role. “The municipality protects its cultural-historical and landscape values. This is also described in the report from VE and their Future Vision. They also want to stimulate solar panels on the roofs. So let the municipality actively encourage that option and thus not leave room for a solar park.”
Ter Veen explains: “We prefer solar panels on roofs, that’s right. But preliminary studies show that they can only generate 40 to 60 percent of our intended energy needs. Then we’re left with a portion that we have to fill, based on a choice of wind or solar. Wind turbines are not a problem, so there is only one choice left.”
The municipality therefore makes it a condition that the landscape suffers as little damage as possible. Because according to Ter Veen, this does not mean that valuable land is ‘lost’ at the same time. “For example, by surrounding the solar park with greenery, integrating dual land use such as water storage and crop cultivation, or strengthening biodiversity with nature.”
The plan is also far from cast in concrete. Ter Veen: “We cannot yet issue a permit. To do so, we must first draw up an environmental vision together with our residents. This will only happen at the end of 2023. It contains our conditions against which we can measure whether initiatives can get permission. But the interests between climate or landscape must be balanced. We have a task to solve. In 2025 everything must be licensed and in 2030 we must be able to produce renewable energy.”
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