Wind power in Belgium
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.
By year end 2015 Belgium had 2,229 MW installed capacity of windpower, 712 MW of which was offshore based, producing a total of 5,468 GWh of electricity generation. The percentage of electricity met by wind grew from under 1% in 2008 to 8% by 2015. By the end of 2019 land based wind power is planned to grow by a minimum of 339 MW whilst offshore wind power is planned to increase by around 1,500-1,600 MW.
Several large offshore wind power concessions have been granted, including the Norther windfarm which plans to install 44 of the world's most powerful windturbines in 2019, the MHI Vestas V164 turbines.
On February 8, 2014, due to high winds, 16% of the consumed electricity was generated by wind turbines.
- 1 Background
- 2 Installed capacity and generation
- 3 Offshore wind farms
- 4 Historical data Flemish region
- 5 Historical data Walloon Region
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
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). 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. 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.
The expanding capacity and the intermittent nature of wind power creates challenges for grid operator Elia. Requiring accurate wind forecasts 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.
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. There has however also been fierce protest against some projects for example plans to construct turbines in Mol and Hannut have stalled.
Installed capacity and generation
|Year||Offshore||Land-based||Total electricity generation all sources (GWh)||Total wind generation (GWh)||Electrical generation met by wind (%)|
|Capacity (MW)||Generation (GWh)||Capacity (MW)||Generation (GWh)|
Land based installed wind capacity grew to 1,517 MW in 2015 producing 2,855 GWh of electricity, a figure almost matched by the 712 MW offshore installed capacity producing 2,613 GWh, reflecting the better wind conditions at sea and associated higher capacity factor. A rough calculation shows that in 2015 1.88 GWh were produced by each MW capacity of land based wind power whilst sea base capacity produced 3.67 GWh, although the difference may be exaggerated somewhat due to land based capacity growing significantly throughout the year. In 2015 the capacity factors for land based wind power in Belgium was 21.40% and for offshore 41.90%. Offshore wind power thus operates at its full capacity almost twice as often on average as compared to onshore wind power in Belgium.
Offshore wind farms
|Project name||MW||Turbines||Date operational|
|C-Power||326.2||54||Operational since Sep 2013|
|Northwind||216||72||Operational since May 2014|
|Belwind||171||66||65 Turbines since 2010 and 1 since 2014|
|Total Operational (end 2015)||713.2||192||End 2015|
|Norther||369.6||44||Commissioning expected 2019|
|Northwester 2||217–224||22-32||Planning 2018|
|Mermaid Wave||20-61||4 batteries||Concession granted|
|Total future new installations||1,468-1,624||(+ 4 batteries) 218-272||from End 2018|
By year end 2015 Belgium had three active offshore wind power projects totalling 192 turbines and 713.2 MW of power. A further 7 offshore projects are in the planning phase and projected to total an additional 1468-1624 MW of windpower capacity in 2018. The distance of the projects from shore typically range from 21 to 52 km, and the bathymetry of the water indicates the turbines will be based in waters typically between 12 and 42 metres deep.
Wind farm concessions in the North Sea.
By Royal Order of May 2004 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. Three projects are already producing electricity, the others are in various stages of planning. 
The Bligh Bank Offshore Wind Farm will have an installed capacity of 330 MW and is expected to produce 1.1 TWh annually. The first half of the farm (165 MW) was completed on 9 December 2010. The construction of the second phase is planned for 2016.
The first two construction phases of the Thorntonbank Wind Farm were completed in 2012. The third and final phase extended the capacity to about 325 MW. The turbines will produce an estimated 1 TWh a year.
72 turbines with a combined capacity of 216 MW on the Lodewijk Bank. Yearly production is estimated at 0.875 TWh. Construction began in 2013. Full operation began in June 2014.
In December 2016, Norther N. V. (Eneco/ Elicio) announced that MHI Vestas Offshore Wind will provide 44 x V164-8.4 MW wind turbines totalling approximately 370 MW to the Norther offshore wind project, located in the Belgian North Sea approximately 23 km off the coast of Zeebrugge. When commissioned in 2019, the Norther project will be Belgium’s largest wind power plant.
Planned capacity is 165MW and 50 turbines.
A project by Otary RS. Planned capacity 288-312MW
A project by Otary RS. Planned capacity 246 MW
Planned capacity 217-224 MW.
Planned capacity 20-61 MW.
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. The project is currently only in the concept phase.
Historical data Flemish region
(end of year)
|Number of turbines
(end of year)
(calculated according to
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.
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.
Installed capacity per province (as of 2012):
Historical data Walloon Region
|Date||Capacity (MW)||Number of turbines||Estimated annual
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.
Greenwind built a 25 MW park of 10 turbines of 2.5 MW in Froidchappelle.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Wind power in Belgium.|
- Energy in Belgium
- List of wind turbines in Belgium
- Solar power in Belgium
- Renewable energy by country
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