The construction of Belgium’s largest wind turbine park can now actually get underway. Following approval by the European Commission of the government’s state support proposals, the Norther project has now successfully completed its financing arrangements and all the necessary contracts have been signed. The start of the offshore work is planned for the spring of 2018. From the summer of 2019, the park will be producing energy for some 400,000 Belgian families. This has been made possible, in part at least, by the co-operation of the federal government and the support of eight commercial banks, the European Investment Bank and the EKF (the Danish Export Credit Agency).
Norther, the largest offshore wind turbine park in Belgium, consists of 44 MHI Vestas 8.4 MW wind turbines. This will give the park a maximum total capacity of 370 MW. This makes the project the most ambitious offshore wind turbine park in Belgium so far. The park is situated some 23 kilometres off the coast, between Ostend and Zeebrugge. Important construction partners in the project include MHI Vestas (supplier of the wind turbines), Van Oord (installation of the foundations, sea cables and the high-voltage substation) and Elia (connection to the high-voltage national grid).
The project is being financed by a combination of private and public investors. The former include the ABN Amro, Belfius, BNP Paribas Fortis, BTMU, Rabobank, SMBC, SMTB and Société Générale banks; the latter include the European Investment Bank and the Danish Export Credit Agency.
The total bank financing amounts to 867 million euros. The remaining capital has been subscribed from the shareholders’ own resources. Green Giraffe and Chatham are the project’s financial advisers.
“Norther represents at total investment of 1.2 billion euros in renewable energy. The support and trust of the banks, the EIB and the EKF is an important landmark moment for us in this project. The fact that the European Investment Bank is one of the largest participants in the project is a clear signal that Europe has confidence in the Belgian investment climate. Moreover, I also wish to emphasize the important and positive role played by the federal government, the CREG and the European Commission. Their intervention is crucial for the future role of renewable energy in Belgian energy policy.”
Dennis Sanou, project director
“Norther will generate an annual production that is equivalent to the electricity consumption of almost 400,000 households. From 2020 onwards, Norther will produce 1.3 TWh, amounting to a 1.5% increase in renewable energy resources. This project therefore contributes directly and effectively towards the successful realization of the Belgian climate targets post-2020. For this reason, we are very proud that from now on we can all work together and move forward with the concrete implementation of this huge – and hugely important – project.”
Ludo Vandervelden, general manager of Elicio
The shareholders in this project all possess in their own field the necessary experience and expertise to successfully carry through a renewable energy project of this kind. In reality, Norther is the property of three key partners: the Belgian Elicio (50%), the Dutch Eneco (25%) and, since recently, Diamond Generating Europe (25%).
“Viewed from our perspective, Diamond Generating Europe (DGE) is an obvious partner. Eneco has already had a successful long-term collaboration with them for the Luchterterduinen wind turbine park in the Netherlands. It is also logical that we wish to work with a partner that has extensive international experience of participating in sustainable energy projects of national importance.”
Miguel de Schaetzen, general manager of Eneco Wind Belgium.
The construction of the park once again confirms the high level of Belgian expertise in the field of offshore wind energy. Working in consultation with its Dutch and Danish partners, Norther will implement a significant proportion of the construction works through experienced Belgian companies working at experienced Belgian yards. This construction will create 1,400 direct full time jobs, with additional indirect employment for another 1,400 full time ancillary and support staff.
Norther NV is a partnership (50% Elicio, 25% Eneco and 25% Diamond Generating Europe) responsible for the development, construction and exploitation of the Norther offshore wind turbine park, which, with its maximum installed capacity of 370 MW, will become the largest Belgian offshore wind project so far. From 2020 onwards, Norther will produce 1.3 TWh of electricity, equivalent to an increase of 1.5% in the available renewable energy in Belgium. The project site is located some 23 kilometres off the coast from Zeebrugge. The total investment amounts to 1.8 million euros. Construction will start in 2018 and the site will become operational in 2019. Development of the project began as long ago as 2008.
For more information: www.norther.be
Elicio NV, a company in the Nethys group, is a Belgian energy developer and producer, which is internationally active in the renewable energy sector. As a producer of electricity, Elicio makes its energy from wind power. This involves the creation of high-technology installations, developed in a spirit of good neighbourliness. In this way, Elicio NV wishes to make its own positive contribution towards a better living environment for us all.
Elicio NV is actively engaged in all aspects of renewable energy, by successfully developing its own projects; by engineering these projects with its own in-house expertise; by constructing the projects with its own experienced building teams; and by exploiting the completed installations for 20 years with its own highly competent managers and personnel.
For more information: www.elicio.be
Eneco is a trendsetting player in the delivery and production of renewable energy and one of the leading names in the wind energy sector, with more than 1,000 MW of renewable production capacity in the Benelux and the United Kingdom. In Belgium, Eneco already has 86 operational wind turbines onshore and is actively involved in the development of further wind turbine parks, both on land and at sea. Eneco offers large-scale and reliable investment opportunities for ordinary citizens and local communities in the many investment projects it manages. These investments can be made through crowdfunding actions, the purchase of bonds or direct participation via cooperatives.
Eneco Belgium is an integrated energy company that focuses on the production and delivery of gas and electricity from sustainable sources, such as sun and wind power. Eneco has been active in the private consumer market since 2011 and currently has more than 275,000 contracts. In addition, it also provides green electricity and gas to more than 10,000 companies. Since its foundation in 1995, Eneco has grown into a company with more than 200 staff and an annual turnover of 500 million euros.
For more information: www.eneco.be
About Diamond Generating Europe (DGE)
DGE is a full subsidiary of the Mitsubishi Corporation (MC). MC is a worldwide integrated corporation engaged in the development and management of companies in almost every branch of commerce and industry, including industrial financing, energy, metals, machines, chemicals, foodstuffs and environmental matters. In recent years, MC has significantly expanded its traditional commercial activities and is now active in sectors like the development of natural resources, investments in the retail sector, infrastructure, the provision of financial products and services, and the manufacture of innovative technology. With more than 200 offices, subsidiaries in over 90 different countries and a worldwide network of more than 1,200 group companies, MC has a multinational personnel complement of almost 68,000 employees.
For more information: www.mitsubishicorp.com