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A Midsummer Night’s Investment

Three weeks of sun have been an unaccustomed bonus this summer in the Netherlands.  Normally overcast, the country has been infused with an almost tropical enthusiasm for beach-side bronzing and languorous afternoons at canal-side wine bars.  Dutch caravans have staked out their place in countless fields and every type of floating vessel imaginable (houseboats, barges, sailboats, paddleboats) plies the country’s extensive waterways. Amsterdam’s floating Gay Pride Parade also benefitted from the glorious sun in its dazzling celebration of diversity.

My wife and I took some time ourselves last week to enjoy the hot spell. We did so by driving through the beautiful countryside of the Ardennes in Belgium, passing through magical Luxembourg and winding up in Strasbourg. Along the way I read an interesting article in The Economist about how the biggest economic stories in recent years have snuck right by the distracted vacationing public during the dog days of summer.  So, I was interested on my return to The Hague to read the announcement of a very significant investment in Dutch wind power generation to be made by the Canadian company Northland Power.

This massive project, known as the Gemini wind park, will see the construction of 150 turbines in an offshore location 50 km north of the Wadden islands.  It will generate 600 megawatts of sustainable wind power, enough to cover the energy needs of the three northern provinces of the Netherlands.  It is not the first Canadian entry in the sector. Other Canadian companies, such as Vermillion Energy, also have an important presence in both on- and off- shore oil and gas production, But it is, to my knowledge, the single largest Canadian investment ever in this country, in any sector!

Given the important investment stake that Dutch energy companies such as Shell have in Canada, including in the Alberta Oil Sands and in major carbon capture and storage projects, it is interesting to see this increased two-way flow of investment, research and innovation. Clearly the energy sector is one of shared excellence and reciprocal benefit.

All of this happily reminds me of the essays we used to write on return to school, usually entitled, “What happened on my summer holidays”.  Well, the unusually sunny summer of 2013 has brought with it some big investment news.  Maybe The Economist is on to something….

I do hope you are also enjoying a wonderful summer, and look forward to being in touch this fall. 

Ambassador James M. Lambert
Wednesday, August 07, 2013




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