Solar Magazine – Board of Government Advisors argues for adjusting plans for Westermeerdijk solar park

The Advisory Council believes that the municipality and other authorities involved should consider revising the design of the Westermeerdijk solar park in Noordoostpolder to focus on more goals.

This is stated by the State Advisory Service in the advisory report ‘Steering towards more goals’ on Noordoostpolder municipality’s plans for a large solar park of approximately 190 hectares. This solar park by Solarfields is to be realized between wind turbines along the 3 IJsselmeer dikes.

18 kilometers long
The plan involves an elongated strip of solar panels on agricultural land, approximately 150 meters wide and 18 kilometers long. The solar park can use the existing grid connection to the wind turbines. Permission has now been granted for part of the planning area for a period of 25 years.

The municipality of Noordoostpolder and the province of Flevoland have asked the government to participate in the realization of these 3 solar parks, of which a third of the land is owned by the government. Statens Ejendomsmægler (RVB) has today leased the land for agricultural use. RVB does not itself decide whether it will participate in this development. It requires a clear decision from the ministries involved. The Danish Property Agency has therefore asked the State Advisers to contribute design knowledge and expertise about the physical living environment to the research from its independent position.

Temporary position
Government Advisers are not in favor of sun on agricultural land. The fact that this location in Noordoostpolder is a suitable location for short-term sustainable production based on network efficiency and clustering is the leading argument for considering a temporary change of function from a “no, unless approach”.

According to the Commission, reversibility – reversibility – is then a condition. In addition, the Government Adviser states that a solution has been sought that does more justice to the intended multiple quality and added value than the current proposal. ‘A solution that is not only acceptable to the various ministries, but which is also attractive to the municipality, the province (and the farmers) because it gives them a perspective in the short and long term,’ the council said.

2 solution instructions
For the project in Noordoostpolder municipality, the State Advisory Service has prepared 2 possible solutions: a minimum variant within the current planning boundary and a redesign with further opportunities for innovation and knowledge development.

Both variants focus on optimizing on multiple values ​​over time while preserving valuable agricultural land in the long run.

Circular agriculture
By adjusting the plan, the first solution will make it possible to farm again at this location in 25 years. If the income from the solar park is partly invested in making the other agricultural areas more sustainable, the plan will not only contribute to the energy conversion, but also to the transition to circular agriculture and the improvement of soil, water and nature quality.

Furthermore, if the improvement proposals are not only implemented on RVB’s land, but are applied to the entire planning area, it will, according to the Commission, lead to better soil and nature quality for the entire planning area.

expose dikes
In addition to the first minimal variant, according to government advisers, there is also the possibility of further adjustments. “It requires a reorganization, with the possibility of phased implementation. The use of the strip between the dike and the maintenance road to the solar park provides the opportunity to compensate for the loss of energy yield by making adjustments to preserve soil quality. In time, the dike itself can also be included in the plan. ‘

In the landscape vision, Flevoland has designated the dike zones as part of the water structure construction that forms the basis for the polders and the landscape identity. At the same time, the government advisers believe that a very very careful design is certainly conceivable, where the dike and / or the digestive tract are also used for solar energy. “Such a design can still do the polder landscape and the iconic dike in the Noordoostpolder justice. A one-time gesture, based on the combination of wind and sun by enclosing the turbines in a carpet of solar panels. With emphasis on” a one-time gesture “: It must We recommend that you also immediately look at alternatives to fencing when revising the design, due to their great visual impact. located in this zone, also deserves to be reconsidered. This type of agriculture does not fit into this landscape and degrades the identity. ‘

‘The question of how we manage solar parks on state land is bigger than just this plan in the Noordoostpolder’, the government adviser colleague concludes. “This case may symbolize how the government handles considerations of location choice and multiple targets for its own area. Here, a standard can now be specified that goes beyond sector solutions and does justice to the principles of the National Environmental Vision (NOVI). It is therefore emphatically a project to learn from. ‘

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