With 1,556 MW of capacity already generated by installed turbines, the Belgian offshore wind sector makes a significant and guaranteed contribution towards security of supply.
With the realization of a further two wind farms - Northwester 2 and Seamade - the total installed capacity of the wind turbines in the North Sea will increase to 2,262 MW. This will meet no less than 10 % of Belgium's total electricity requirements or almost 50% of the requirements of Belgian household consumers.
Today, there are 318 electricity-producing wind turbines in the Belgian part of the North Sea, giving an installed capacity of 1,556 MW. Six of the farms - C-Power (325 MW), Belwind (171 MW), Northwind (216 MW), Nobelwind (165 MW), Rentel (309 MW) and Norther (370 MW) - are already supplying electricity to Belgian users.
The construction work for Northwester 2 (219 MW) has started. By 2020, the 23 new wind turbines of the Northwester 2 farm will provide an additional operational capacity of 219 MW, and the Belgian North Sea will be good for a total installed capacity of 1,775 MW.
In the interests of the Belgian economy, it is crucial that the country's own capacity to produce electricity is further developed, so that security of supply can continue to be guaranteed. Having your own production capacity also guarantees a stable pricing policy (less reliance on imports) and a stable investment climate for Belgian companies. Recent geopolitical tensions in Ukraine, the Middle East and elsewhere have increased concerns about the energy dependency of Europe and Belgium. The European Commission is working on a plan to reduce Europe's dependence on gas imports, in part by further exploiting the potential of renewable (wind) energy.
Risk of black-out
As a result of the recent shut-down of the Doel 3 and Tihange 2 nuclear reactors, the limits of importing electricity from the Netherlands and France were made very clear. In these circumstances, there is a risk of a shortfall in electricity supply, especially during the winter.
In anticipation of the planned decommissioning of Belgium's nuclear power stations after 2025, the challenge of ensuring future electricity supply and preventing a possible black-out is a daunting one. The Federal Planning Agency has calculated that a national power cut of one hour during a working day would result in a total loss to the Belgian economy of ca. 120 million euros.