After ten years of construction and gradual completion of wind farms in the Belgian North Sea, the provisional maximum capacity of 2,262 GW was reached in 2020. The 399 installed wind turbines now generate 8 TWh on an annual basis. This is sufficient to meet the electricity demand of 2.2 million Belgian households.
The parks in operation provide significant CO2 savings at the Belgian level. For example, it is estimated that at the current share of offshore wind energy in the energy mix, 3 million tons of CO2 are saved annually. For comparison, this is the annual CO2 absorption of 3000 km2 of forest in our climate. An area as large as East Flanders would have to be afforested to create the same effect.
Moreover, the Belgian electricity grid is connected to its neighboring countries. If the Belgian production of North Sea electricity is exported to the extent that foreign coal-fired power stations can be used less, this could contribute to an annual saving of up to 8 million tons of CO2.
It is clear that investing in offshore wind energy is a good climate policy. Additionally, the development of this new sector offers numerous economic and social opportunities, including tens of thousands of jobs. Thanks to the early decision to fully make use of its offshore wind energy potential, the Belgian economy grew into a strong player in this field.
The federal government recently raised its ambitions for the further expansion of offshore wind energy capacity in the Belgian North Sea. The BOP is pleased that the government is fully committed to offshore wind energy, which is also 100% Belgian, but hopes that the energy infrastructure will also follow in order to complete the energy transition.
The Belgian delegation can bring this positive experience to Glasgow. The Belgian companies active in offshore wind energy are also ready to put their experience to work in the realization of new wind farms in the North Sea and elsewhere, in Belgium and abroad.
The Belgian Offshore Platform (BOP) is a non-profit association of investors and owners of wind farms in the Belgian part of the North Sea. The BOP was founded in 2011 to advocate the development of wind energy in the Belgian waters of the North Sea.