Wind power in Belgium

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Wind turbine in the Thorntonbank Wind Farm.

Wind power in Belgium depends partially on regional governments (Brussels-Capital Region, Flemish Region, Walloon Region) and partially on the Belgian federal government. Wind energy producers in both the Flemish and Walloon regions get green certificates but not with the same conditions.

On February 8, 2014, due to high winds, 16% of the consumed electricity was generated by wind turbines.[1] At the start of 2012, there were 498 operational wind turbines in Belgium, with a capacity of 1080 MW.[2] The amount of electricity generated from wind energy has surpassed 2 TWh per year.[1]

Background[edit]

Windmills of Sint-Janshuismolen, Bruges, built in 1770.

The Belgian State committed to generate 13% of its energy (electricity, transport and heating) from sustainable sources by 2020. The annual wind energy potential in Belgium is estimated at 8.2 TWh (5.4 TWh offshore, 2.8 TWh onshore).[3] This requires a production capacity of 2.1 GW offshore and 1.1 GW onshore. Wind energy makes up 47% of the 17 TWh renewable energy potential by 2020, according to the GEMIX report.[3] In 2008, Belgium consumed 88 TWh of electricity (excluding electricity that was not transported on the high voltage grid).

Wind turbines are mainly installed offshore and in the Flemish and Walloon Regions. Brussels-Capital Region is an urban area which is not particularly suited for large wind turbines. Smaller turbines more appropriate for urban environments are being studied but until today no technology is deemed sufficiently efficient.[4]

The expanding capacity and the intermittent nature of wind power creates challenges for grid operator Elia. Requiring accurate wind forecasts[5] and infrastructure changes. In particular transporting the large amounts of electricity generated offshore inland required work. Currently the construction of various 150 kV connections has prepared the electricity grid to connect up 900 MW of offshore wind turbines. By 2016 the Stevin Project aims to expand this further by constructing new high voltage substations in Zeebrugge and Zomergem and a double 380 kV connection between them.[6]

In September 2010, a survey was held by the Hogeschool West-Vlaanderen among more than 800 families who live very close to wind turbines in West Flanders. The results were better than expected. Before the turbines were constructed 59.3% were satisfied, this percentage rose to 68.3 after they were constructed. In addition 83.9% didn't oppose the construction of additional wind turbines.[7] There has however also been fierce protest against some projects for example plans to construct turbines in Mol and Hannut have stalled.[8][9]

Offshore wind farms[edit]

Wind farm concessions in the North Sea.

By Royal Order of May 2004[10] an area is reserved for the production of renewable energy. This area was subdivided into seven concessions. All of which have since been awarded to project developers. Two projects are already producing electricity, the others are in various stages of planning.[11]

Belwind[edit]

The Bligh Bank Offshore Wind Farm will have an installed capacity of 330 MW and is expected to produce 1.1 TWh annually.[12] The first half of the farm (165 MW) was completed on 9 December 2010.[13] The construction of the second phase is planned for 2014.

C-Power[edit]

The first two construction phases of the Thorntonbank Wind Farm were completed in 2012. Currently the wind farm has a capacity of 215 MW. [14] The third and final phase, planned for 2015, will extend this capacity further to about 325 MW. When completed the turbines will produce an estimated 1 TWh a year.[15]

Planned projects[edit]

  • Northwind (previously Eldepasco) Expects to build 72 turbines with a combined capacity of 216 MW on the Lodewijk Bank. Yearly production is estimated at 0.875 TWh. Construction is planned to start in 2013 [16]
  • Norther Planned capacity is 420MW and a yearly production of 1360 GWh. Construction is expected to start in 2014[17]
  • Rentel A project by Otary RS. Planned capacity 288 MW
  • Seastar A project by Otary RS. Planned capacity 246 MW
  • THV Mermaid Partnership between Otary RS and Electrabel. Plans include wind turbines producing 450MW, an additional 20MW will be extracted from wave energy.[18]

Energy island[edit]

In order to use the generation capacity more efficiently plans are being made to construct an artificial island 3 km from Wenduine. On the island a lake would function as the reservoir of a pumped storage power station, estimated to produce 300 MW for 3 hours a day.[19] The project is currently only in the concept phase.

Flemish Region[edit]

Year Capacity (MW)

(end of year)

Number of turbines

(end of year)

Production (GWh)

(calculated according to
Directive 2009/28/EC)

2006 128.9 112 240
2007 149.2 122 287
2008 173.3 111 336
2009 231.8 145 391
2010 264.9 150 402
2011 341.1 191 541
2012 420 228

sources:[20][21][22]

At the end of 2011 there were 191 operational onshore wind turbines with a combined capacity of 341.7MW. Due to the a lack of vast open spaces the wind turbines are installed in more than 60 small groups throughout the region. Often along highways or canals and in industrial or agricultural areas.[23]

The operators of these wind farms are diverse. Some are operated by companies that specialize in wind power like Aspiravi or Electrawinds. Others by traditional electricity producers Electrabel and SPE. Several are operated by cooperatives like Ecopower or Aspiravi Samen. Finally a few are operated by organisations with a different core business like retail network Colruyt or pharmaceutical company Pfizer as part of a Corporate social responsibility strategy. Colruyt's turbines produce an estimated 13.75 GWh annually.[24]

Installed capacity per province (as of 2012):

Walloon Region[edit]

Wind farm in Estinnes.
Date Capacity (MW) Number of turbines Estimated annual

production (GWh)

2005 50.0 71
2007 129.9 280
2009 206.0 117 458
20/1/2011 442.3 204 984
27/6/2012 543.9 247 1,197

sources:[2][25][26][27][28]

This region is home to the largest turbines in Belgium. The Windvision wind farm near Estinnes houses 11 Enercon E-126 turbines each with a total height of 198.5 metres and a generation power of 6 MW. The park is part of the EU demonstration project 7MW-WEC-by-11 nine turbines will be upgraded to 7.5 MW.[29][30]

Greenwind built a 25 MW park of 10 turbines of 2.5 MW in Froidchappelle.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Nieuwe records voor windenergie door winderige winter". De Standaard. 2014-02-10. Retrieved 9 April 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Environ 500 éoliennes en Belgique, Lalibre.be, 11 janvier 2012
  3. ^ a b "Quel mix energetique ideal pour la Belgique aux horizons 2020 et 2030" (PDF). p. 5. 
  4. ^ "Windturbines". Brussels Instituut voor Milieubeheer. 
  5. ^ "Forecast and actual wind power generation". Elia. 
  6. ^ "Stevin". elia. Retrieved 25 December 2012. 
  7. ^ "Studie Howest: windmolens beter onthaald dan gedacht". Krant van West-Vlaanderen. 2010-09-27. Retrieved 25 December 2012. 
  8. ^ "Le "non" aux éoliennes". DHnet. Retrieved 25 December 2012. 
  9. ^ "Ecopower mag geen windmolens bouwen in Mol". vrtnieuws. Retrieved 25 December 2012. 
  10. ^ 17 MEI 2004. — Koninklijk besluit tot wijziging van het koninklijk besluit van 20 december 2000 betreffende de voorwaarden en de procedure voor de toekenning van domeinconcessies voor de bouw en de exploitatie van installaties voor de productie van elektriciteit uit water, stromen of winden, in de zeegebieden waarin België rechtsmacht kan uitoefenen overeenkomstig het internationaal zeerecht"Belgisch Staatsblad N. 233 (jaargang 174)" (pdf) (in nl,fr). Belgisch Staatsblad. 2004-06-29. pp. 52775–52776. 
  11. ^ "Chapter 2. Offshore wind energy development in the Belgian part of the North Sea & anticipated impacts: an update" (pdf). Retrieved 2 November 2012. 
  12. ^ "Belwind en Northwind versterkt door nieuwe Japanse partner - Meewind". Meewind.nl. 2013-09-30. Retrieved 2013-10-15. 
  13. ^ Toespraak van Eerste Minister Yves Leterme bij de inhuldiging van het Belwind windturbinepark op de Blighbank (Noordzee), 9 December 2010. Accessed: 10 December 2010.
  14. ^ "REpower: C-Power’s offshore wind farm Thornton Bank II installed". REpower. 2012-07-27. Retrieved 6 November 2012. 
  15. ^ [1][dead link]
  16. ^ "Northwind Energy". Northwindenergy.eu. 2012-06-28. Retrieved 2013-10-15. 
  17. ^ "North Sea Power, Tomorrow's Energy". Airenergy. Retrieved 2 November 2012. 
  18. ^ "Belgium: THV Mermaid to Construct Final North Sea Offshore Wind Farm". offshorewind.biz. Retrieved 2 November 2012. 
  19. ^ "Binnen vijf jaar eiland voor onze kust". De Standaard (in Dutch). 17 January 2013. 
  20. ^ "Lijst van operationele windturbines in Vlaanderen". 
  21. ^ K. Jespers, K. Aernouts, S. Vangeel (November 2011). "Inventaris duurzame energie in Vlaanderen 2010 DEEL I: hernieuwbare energie". VITO. p. 5. Retrieved 6 November 2012. 
  22. ^ "marktrapport ‘11 VREG_". vreg. Retrieved 6 November 2012. 
  23. ^ "Summary on shore windpower 2011". organisatie duurzame energie. Retrieved 4 November 2012. 
  24. ^ [2][dead link]
  25. ^ "Energie 4 n°11". September 2009. 
  26. ^ [3][dead link]
  27. ^ "Situation de l'éolien en Région wallonne au 27/06/12". APERe. 
  28. ^ "Situation de l'éolien en Région Wallonne au 20/01/2011". APERe. Retrieved 24 December 2012. 
  29. ^ "Enercon E-126". Elia. 15 May 2009. Retrieved 2013-10-15. 
  30. ^ "Pilot Demonstration of Eleven 7MW-Class WEC at Estinnes in Belgium". WIP Munich. Retrieved 25 December 2012. 

External links[edit]