The Belgian Offshore Platform hands over 2019-2024 memorandum to the Prime Minister
With six offshore wind farms and a 1,556 MW production capacity, Belgium is a world leader in the offshore wind industry today.
The construction of the sixth wind farm, Norther, with a capacity of 370 MW, is progressing well. Seamade and Northwester 2, which together account for 706 MW of additional capacity, are in the midst of preparations for the construction of their wind farms.
The development of the offshore wind industry in Belgium is the result of visionary Belgian companies and of decisive and stable policymaking. From 1999 to the present day, successive federal governments have created the necessary legislative certainty for offshore wind energy development. The result is that Belgium is at the top of this innovative, clean-tech sector today. By 2020, eight wind farms in the Belgian North Sea will together produce 2,300 MW of offshore wind energy, which will be able to produce an average annual 8 TWh, approximately 10% of Belgium’s total electricity demand.
Offshore wind energy technology has developed at a rapid pace. In 2009, a 3 MW wind turbine was the norm. This year 9 MW wind turbines are being installed in the Belgian North Sea. Soon an offshore wind turbine of 12 MW will start with test runs. Today, the construction of offshore wind farms is four times faster than it was 10 years ago. As a result, the cost of offshore wind energy has fallen rapidly in recent years and offshore wind energy has become one of the most competitive energy technologies.
In view of climate-change urgency, it is necessary for the next federal government to continue and accelerate its efforts to develop this large-scale and carbon-neutral electricity production in the Belgian North Sea.
For Belgian companies active in this sector, continuity in the development of local projects is also essential to maintain their lead in the international market for offshore wind energy.
The Michel 1 government has approved four offshore wind projects (Rentel, Norther, Northwester 2 and Seamade), together producing 1,385 MW.
In December 2018, in the 2020-2026 Marine Spatial Plan, the current federal government approved new offshore wind zones and the guidelines for public tendering.
The blueprint for the next 2,000 MW of offshore wind in Belgium is therefore complete.
However, the timing envisaged by the federal government – namely that the new wind farms will start producing by the end of 2026 – is not ambitious enough. The offshore wind energy sector can, and wants to, contribute to accelerating the energy transition in Belgium.
“In concrete terms, the BOP is asking the next government to enable the public tender for new offshore wind capacity to be launched in 2020, and allocation of the projects to take place in 2021,” says BOP director, Wim Biesemans.
It is essential for the grid operator to accelerate investment in the offshore as well as the onshore grids.
The federal government, in consultation with the regional governments and local authorities, can help the grid operator to accelerate the connection and integration of new offshore wind power by simplifying licensing and appeal procedures, as is the case in the Netherlands, for example.
Contact BOP :
Marie Leroy, firstname.lastname@example.org, T +32 (0) 2 514 52 15 / M +32 (0) 471 61 03 19