The Rentel project is located some 40 kilometres north of Ostend and will be the fifth offshore wind project in the Belgian zone of the North Sea. The new maritime generating station will consist of 42 wind turbines, with a total installed capacity of 309 MW. The total investment amounts to 1.1 billion euros. The new wind turbines will be the largest installed in the Belgian North Sea to date and will provide green electricity to some 285,000 families. These turbines will be supplied by Siemens and is the very latest model on the market. Rentel is keen to make use of ‘direct drive’ technology, in which the rotor is directly connected to the generator (no gear case assembly).
Important contribution towards climate targets
Construction started in 2016, work at sea commenced in early 2017 and the first electricity will be supplied to the Belgian grid in the middle of 2018. By the end of that year, the electricity generating station will be fully operational. In this way, Rentel will make an important contribution not only to the leading role played by Belgium in the offshore wind energy sector, but also to the successful realization of Belgium’s 2020 targets, successful compliance with EU climate norms and even the successful transition to a more sustainable economy with a more sustainable energy supply.
Nathalie Oosterlinck, CEO of Rentel: “This is a very important step for the project. Thanks to this investment, we are not only helping to achieve international climate objectives, but also to meet our own Belgian national targets. By 2020, 13% of our energy must be produced from renewable sources, half of which will come from offshore wind energy. Investing in our own power generating stations means that less electricity needs to be imported, which improves the energy independence of Belgium as a nation. In addition, the construction of the wind park will create some 1,400 direct and 1,400 indirect jobs during the development and construction phases. When the park is fully operational, there will be permanent fulltime employment for around 100 personnel.”
Project financed by public and private investors
The project is being financed by eight shareholders and a consortium consisting of eight commercial banks and the European Investment Bank. The eight banks in the consortium are: AG Insurance, ASN Bank, Belfius, ING, KBC, KfWIpex-Bank, Rabobank and Société Générale. The European Investment Bank is providing credit of 250 million euros via the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI or Junker Plan) and is also offering a further 50 million euros that will be guaranteed by Delcredere| Ducroire. The Danish EKF is similarly guaranteeing a tranche of 208 million euros.
Alain Bernard, CEO of DEME: “This is an important milestone for the Belgian offshore wind energy market. Thanks to DEME’s wide-ranging experience in offshore wind energy projects, we can make an important contribution towards a more sustainable energy supply for Belgium, not only as a financial partner via DEME Concessions, but also through the use of our own specialized contractors for the casting of the foundations and the laying of cables, under the leadership of Dredging International, which will be responsible for the implementation of all construction and installation works.”
The biggest wind turbines on the Belgian coast
The 42 offshore wind turbines will be installed and maintained by Siemens, with Dredging International undertaking the initial foundation work (amongst other things). With a hub height of 106 metres and a rotor diameter of 154 metres, these wind turbines are as wide as the combined wing span of two Airbus A380’s, the largest passenger aeroplane in the world. Their tip height of 183 metres makes them the tallest turbines in the Belgian North Sea. All the turbines are connected via underground cables to a high-voltage substation at sea, where the electricity generated in converted to a 220 kilovolt supply, which is then transported along a gigantic underground export cable to Zeebrugge, from where it is distributed further throughout the country. Rentel is currently building a new operational centre in the harbour at Ostend, which will be responsible for coordinating the construction and later managing the operation of the Rentel wind park.
The Rentel wind park in figures
- Total investment: 1.1 billion euro
- Total capacity: 309 MW
- 34 km from the harbour at Zeebrugge
- 40 km from the harbour at Ostend
- 42 Siemens D7 offshore wind turbines
- Hub height of the wind turbines: 106 m
- Diameter of the rotor: 154 m
- 1 offshore high-voltage substation
- Providing electricity for the annual consumption of 285,000 households
- Creation of 1,400 direct and 1,400 indirect jobs during the development and construction phases
- Creation of 100 long-term jobs during the operational phase
- Dredging International (DEME Group): design, supply, transport and installation of the foundations and the infield cables
- Siemens: design, production, supply and installation of the wind turbines and O&M services during the operational phase
- ABB: design and installation of a 220 kv export cable to the coast
- STX Europe: design and supply of an offshore substation
Rentel is part of the Otary partnership that brings together various Belgian specialists in renewable energy, such as the investment and development companies Rent-A-Port Energy and Power@Sea, the dredging and marine engineering specialist DEME and its subsidiary DEME Concessions Wind, the green energy producers Offshore II and Elicio, the Walloon environmental holdings SRIW and Wallonia Offshore Wind, as well as the Flemish and Walloon energy and utility participation companies Z-Kracht and Socofe.
In addition to Rentel, Otary also has a concession for the construction of the planned Seastar wind park and is also a part of the consortium that will develop the Mermaid wind park.
Rentel is advised by Allen & Overy (legal), Green Giraffe (financial), PwC (tax and accounting), JLT and Averbo (insurance) and Deloitte (hedging). The banks were advised by Mott MacDonald (technical), Loyens & Loeff (legal), Benatar & Co (insurance) and Mazars-Corality (model audit). In addition, the European Investment Bank was advised by White & Case/Jones Day, with EKF and Delcredere| Ducroire receiving guidance from Kromann Reumert (legal).