Belgian offshore wind farms satisfied with wind year 2023


The Belgian wind farms (Mermaid, Nobelwind, Belwind, Seastar, Northwind, Rentel, C-Power, Northwester 2 and Norther) on the North Sea are looking back with satisfaction on a successful year in terms of wind supply and energy production.

During the past year, Belgian wind farms in the North Sea have experienced a consistent supply of wind. All 9 wind farms have been fully operational since December 2020. This means that 2023 will be the third year with fully installed production capacity for this large Belgian offshore power plant. The annual production in 2023 will therefore be the highest since the start of offshore wind production in our North Sea.

The Belgian offshore wind farms have a total capacity of 2,262 MW. In 2023, a total production of approximately 8 TWh was injected into the Belgian electricity grid, which corresponds to the annual electricity needs of approximately 2.3 million families.

Offshore wind energy in Belgium will account for 10.2% of total electricity consumption in 2023. During the month of December 2023, a record monthly production was recorded, 1075 GWh. Belgium is in the European top five in terms of the share of offshore wind energy in electricity demand, together with Denmark (25% in 2022), the United Kingdom (15% in 2022), the Netherlands (7% in 2022) and Germany (5 % in 2022).

Wind turbines on the Belgian North Sea

The wind turbines start turning from a light breeze (2 Beaufort) to a heavy storm (11 Beaufort). This means that electricity is almost always produced at sea, this year for ~95% of the time. The winter months are the best months for offshore wind production, but this year the month of July was very favorable compared to other summers.

Storms occur regularly at sea, especially during the winter months. Since the wind blows harder at sea than on land, the offshore wind turbines are designed to produce electricity even at high wind speeds. If wind speeds or gusts are measured, the turbines automatically switch temporarily to a safety mode until the wind decreases again. The wind farms are also flexible production units that are increasingly used to keep the electricity system in balance by partially reducing production in the event of surpluses. There is an increasing trend in such adjustments, both at the request of suppliers and the grid operator.

Princess Elisabeth Zone

Looking to the future, the Belgian offshore wind energy sector continues to innovate and expand. Three new wind farms in the Princess Elisabeth Zone will increase the offshore wind capacity on the Belgian part of the North Sea (BNS) to a maximum of 5.8 GW. The opening of the public tender for the first 700MW site is expected at the end of 2024. The winner, who must build the wind farm by 2028, should be known by the end of 2025.