Urk, 26 May 2014, RWE Innogy GmbH

RWE starts construction of Zuidwester wind farm with world’s largest onshore wind turbines



  • Installed capacity of 90MW directly on the IJsselmeer
  • Twelve 7.5MW wind turbines replace 50 older ones
  • Investment volume of more than € 150 million
  • Due to be commissioned in 2017

Animation Zuidwester wind farm
Animation Zuidwester wind farm

Official ground-breaking is taking place today for the construction of the Dutch Zuidwester wind farm. RWE is erecting the wind farm with a planned total capacity of 90 megawatts (MW) along the dyke on IJsselmeer. Twelve turbines of the 7.5MW class supplied by Enercon will be installed to make optimum use of the site. These are the world’s largest onshore wind power systems. The investment volume totals more than € 150 million. It is intended to commission the wind farm in 2017.

Marc Witteman, Deputy from the Province of Flevoland, stated: “This project is a good example of what we call the ‘Flevoland method’. This method implies that we generate more energy with fewer mills in a beautiful landscape by contributing to the surrounding area."

Dr. Hans Bünting, CEO of RWE Innogy, explains: “Zuidwester is a crown jewel in our project portfolio. The site is excellent and its wind speeds are otherwise found only in the open sea. Just one of the Zuidwester systems will be able to produce as much electricity as all the 50 systems of the still existing wind farm taken together. This is top-class repowering.”

The twelve wind turbines of the E126 type feature a hub height of 135 meters and a rotor diameter of 127 meters. They will be erected on a site alongside two dykes, the Westermeerdijk and the Zuidermeerdijk dyke. The existing turbines of RWE’s Westermeerdijk (50 turbines) and Zuidermeerdijk (4 turbines) wind farms will be removed at the same time. The average wind speed at this location is nine meters per second at hub height.

Animation Zuidwester wind farm
Animation Zuidwester wind farm

RWE’s Zuidwester wind farm forms part of the Dutch Noordoostpolder wind power project in which various partners are involved. The Noordoostpolder wind power site will have an installed capacity of 429MW making it one of the largest wind farms in Europe. 86 windmills are to be erected both in the IJsselmeer and onshore along the dyke. The wind farm is to supply 400,000 residential households with sustainable energy in the future.

Erwin van Laethem, CEO of Essent, added: “This marvellous project helps achieve the Dutch targets for the development of renewable energies. Zuidwester will be able to supply 80,000 residential households annually with green power. This has become possible because political and economic partners have been working together hand in hand. This is how we can make the energy transition a success.”

The Dutch government intends to grow the share of renewable energies in the Dutch electricity mix to 14 percent by 2020. The energy agreement sets a target of 6,000MW from onshore wind power production. Currently the Netherlands has approximately 2,500MW onshore wind capacity.

Overview of construction phases:
As soon as the access roads have been built and crane platforms set up, Enercon will start laying the foundations. The construction of the towers will commence in beginning of 2015 as well as the cables and electrical work.
One wind turbine will be erected and directly commissioned on average every two-and-a-half months from mid of 2015.The grid operator TenneT will connect the wind farm to the electricity grid through the nearby Westermeerdijk transformer station. The twelve systems are due to be fully commissioned in 2017.