Wind farms generate €12b in value

According to Natuur & Milieu (Nature & Environment), wind farms on the sea provide billions to environmental gains, if the social benefits are included.

The study the environmental organization published today states that if the avoided climate damage, from current electricity production from gas and coal, is taken into account, the positive balanced can amount to more than 12 billion euro.

Negative climate impacts are limited by the large-scale deployment of wind energy. According to Natuur & Milieu, the social returns thereof are wrongly calculated. The public debate focus sole on the high investment costs and subsidies. The Second Chamber will debate Minister Kamp's (Economic Affairs) plans for offshore wind farms tonight.

Natuur & Milieu asked the office SEO Economic Research of the University of Amsterdam to make a social cost-benefit analysis of the wind plans at sea. The environmental impact of CO2 emissions from the combustion of fossil materials was included in the calculations. Offshore wind farms will ultimately reduce the CO2 emissions.

According to Natuur & Milieu, wind energy is a smart insurance policy. "Wind farms save high costs for future generations. They are an excellent insurance for our (grand) children. We must invest now to reduce future damage", says director Tjerk Wagenaar.

The organization believes that the economic cost calculations for wind energy are currently too one-sided. "We are not building wind farms to develop optimal business models, but to keep climate change within limits. Therefore it is important to include climate effects, translated into CO2 costs." says Wagenaar. "Otherwise you get the bizarre effect that we cheer for the best business model for a windmill while in that scenario the climate damage is perhaps the greatest. A social cost-benefit analysis takes these effects into account."