An opinion poll conducted by Kantar TNS between 30 June and 7 July 2017 has revealed that almost nine out of ten Belgians (87.3%) think the Belgian government must respect its obligations in relation to the 2020 climate target. This demonstrates the Belgian population’s clear awareness of the importance and urgency of climate issues.
When asked whether maximum investment must be made in wind energy in the Belgian part of the North Sea in order to meet climate targets, 82.8% of those questioned answered in the affirmative.
The federal government is currently reviewing plans for the next three offshore wind projects – Mermaid, Northwester 2 and Seastar – which can together supply 700 MW of climate-friendly new offshore electricity capacity.
To ensure readiness for electricity production by 2020, the Belgian Offshore Platform (BOP) urges the government to move quickly and provide legal certainty on these initiatives, permitting these three offshore wind projects to proceed with construction of their wind farms as quickly as possible. After all, if the government continues to delay the plans, achievement of Belgium’s 2020 climate target will be seriously jeopardised.
“The view of the Belgian people is that wind energy in the North Sea is essential to achieving Belgium’s climate target by 2020”, says Jaak RUTTEN, Chair of the BOP and CEO of C-Power. “This poll clearly establishes the very broad-based support within our society for offshore wind energy. What is the government waiting for, in order to reach an agreement with the farms still to be developed?”
The poll also asked about the Belgian people’s interest in investing in offshore wind energy themselves. When asked whether they would consider investing some of their savings in offshore wind energy, one in four Belgians said they would.
Besides the ecological imperative of additional investment in offshore wind in the Belgian part of the North Sea, further development of Belgium’s offshore wind industry also offers economic opportunities: 16,000 new jobs, 1 billion euros per annum of value added to the Belgian economy and multiple export possibilities for Belgian companies within Europe and elsewhere in the world. Finally, it is important for the energy system to continue investing in new capacity in Belgium in order to compensate for the planned closure of the nuclear power stations.
1. Previously TNS Dimarso
2. See Climact Study, March 2017
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