No windmills at Zernike Campus
‘The University Board is a proponent of all modalities of green energy, but not of putting windmills on the Zernike terrain’, says RUG spokesperson Riepko Buikema.
The goal is for Zernike to shed its industrial character and become a park-like environment with more green spaces, shops, hospitality businesses and student housing, according to plans presented by the RUG and the municipality and province last year. ‘We feel it’s crucial that the area become a pleasant destination,’ university vice president Jan de Jeu said at the time. And windmills do not fit with this theme.
The decision not to place any windmills goes against the advice of the environmental bureau Falkena Milieu, who was commissioned to research the possibilities of making the campus self-sufficient by the RUG’s Sustainability Steering Committee in 2011.
According to the agency, the campus would be able to produce all of its own power if they placed five large, 80-metre-tall windmills along the Van Starkenborgh canal. The University Board has chosen not to take that advice.
‘The Falkena report is five years old by now, and not much has been done with it’, responds Henk Moll, professor of natural resources and former president of the Sustainability Steering Committee.
‘By emphatically distancing itself from wind energy without substantially developing another means of sustainable energy generation, the RUG is detracting from its own sustainability ambitions’, says Moll. ‘I also wonder if the RUG’s partners in the Energy Academy Europe, which includes the municipality, the province of Groningen and the Hanze University of Applied Sciences, were even consulted about this decision.’