Belgium Triples Offshore Wind

The Belgian Council of Ministers have given the green light for establishing over 3 GW of new offshore wind farms in North Sea. By the end of the decade Belgium will triple its offshore capacity to almost 6 GW, enough to power all Belgian households, or 25-30% of total electricity demand, and an extra 2 million tons of CO2 savings.

The Ministers have agreed on establishing between 3.15-3.5 GW with connection via an energy island, due to be built by 2026 with wind farms connecting from 2027.

A 281 km² zone, consisting of three areas (Noordhinder North, Noordhinder South and Fairybank) was originally identified in the Marine Spatial Plan (2020-2026) for 2.1 GW. According to Energy Minister Tinne Van der Straeten, the decision to increase capacity was made, among other things, on the basis of an LCOE study conducted by 3E and technological progress. Ministers anticipate the projects to feature 17 MW turbines with rotor diameters over 240 meters.

The federal government will launch the first competitive tender procedure in mid-2023 to allocate the domain concessions for the construction and operation of offshore wind installations in the Princess Elisabeth zone.

Elia is requested to work out the details for the connection and to submit them to the Council of Ministers for approval. Elia will also investigate the option for establishing interconnectors with neighbouring countries. The energy island is expected to cost €420 million with €100 m from the EU Recovery and Resilience fund. It will be the first of its kind in the North Sea.

For more information on offshore wind farms worldwide, click here.