The support cost to society of helping to finance Belgian offshore wind energy production is lower than in neighbouring countries. The gross income from the different projects is also under the European average. These are some of the conclusions from a comparative study carried out by the independent study bureau 3 E, which examined the support mechanisms for offshore wind in six different countries. Based on this study’s findings, the Belgian Offshore Platform (BOP) has asked the relevant authorities to think further about a cost-efficient support policy for Belgian offshore wind that devotes equal attention to the interests of both consumers and investors.
In the Benchmarking Study on Offshore Wind Incentives, the independent study bureau 3 E compares the current support policy for Belgian offshore wind with similar policies in Germany, France, the Netherlands, Great Britain and Denmark. The researchers calculated both the cost to society and the gross project income, whilst at the same time taking account of relevant differences between the various support schemes, such as their duration or the participation of the government in cable costs.
3 E calculated the average cost price over a 20-year period for each MWh of produced electricity. After extrapolation, the societal cost of offshore wind energy in Belgium was assessed at € 70.7 per MWh, which is lower than the European average (€72.1 per MWh). However, gross project income was also one of the lowest (€60.6 /MWh against the average of €64.7/MWh).
The 3 E study was commissioned by the Belgian Offshore Platform, an association of the most important investors in renewable energy in the Belgian North Sea. With this study, the BOP wanted to arrive at an objective assessment of the real cost of state support for offshore wind in Belgium, in comparison with neighbouring countries.