The C-Power wind park, which was officially inaugurated in September of last year, operated at full capacity in December and January, producing in those two months 24% more electricity than was anticipated, thanks to the extremely favourable wind conditions and the high technical reliability of the wind turbines.
The 54 wind turbines, which are located some 30 kilometres from the coast, were responsible in December and January for the generation of 277.4 GWh of electricity. This is equivalent to the annual consumption of 80,000 families!
This level of production is three times higher than the level during the extremely poor wind months of July and August 2013. The explanation for this increase is to be found in the good technical availability of the wind turbine park, the high average wind speeds, and the fact that during the two months in question there were only eight days with wind speeds lower than 20 kilometres per hour. This is good news, bearing in mind that a wind turbine only begins to operate at wind speeds of 13 kph and reaches it maximum capacity with speeds of 49 kph or higher.
In December and January there were 12 storm days, with average wind speeds in excess of 80 kph. The powerful turbines are only shut down for safety reasons when wind speeds exceed 108 kph for more than 10 minutes. This limit was never reached during the months in question, so that the turbines were able to operate continually at full capacity.
The construction of the 325MW offshore wind park was completed in the summer of 2013. This world first, with a total investment of 1.3 billion euros, was successfully realized by C-Power, working in close collaboration with its structural partners: the THV Seawind consortium (a joint venture between Dredging International and Fabricom), Senvion (the new name of REpower), ABB and the Harbour of Ostend. Each year, C-Power will be able to meet the energy requirements of more than 300,000 families and will prevent the emission of 415,000 tons of carbon into the environment.
The shareholders in C-Power are:
- DEME (www.deme.com), a maritime engineering specialist that operates worldwide. Dredging International and Geosea, subsidiaries of DEME, are the only Belgian companies with experience of constructing foundations for and subsequently erecting wind turbines at sea. They are currently involved in the construction of different multi-megawatt offshore wind parks all around the world.
- Z-Kracht is an investment vehicle for 99 Belgian municipalities, with Nuhma NV (www.nuhma.be) as the controlling shareholder. Nuhma has been involved with C-Power since its first inception and is an association of 44 municipalities from the Province of Limburg, whose purpose is to invest in electricity and utilities enterprises.
- Socofe (www.socofe.be) is an investment company for the public authorities in the Walloon Region of Belgium, specialized in the financing and development of utilities projects.
- SRIW Environnement (www.sriw.be), the environment holding of the Walloon Investment Company S.R.I.W, is a company specialized in the financing and development of environmental and utilities projects.
- RWE Innogy GmbH (www.rwe.com), a subsidiary of RWE AG, gathers together expertise in fields relating to renewable energy and the power stations of the RWE Group. The company plans, constructs and operates enterprises that extract energy from renewable sources. The objective of RWE Innogy is active participation and the promotion of strong growth in the renewable energy industry in Europe.
- EDF Energies Nouvelles (www.edf-energies-nouvelles.com), an offshoot of Electricité de France (EdF), is a pioneer in the production of green energy. The company plans, develops and operates renewable energy installations all over the world. Their participation in the C-Power project confirms their important position in the European offshore energy sector.
- The 2020 European Fund for Energy, Climate Change and Infrastructure (Marguerite Fund) (www.margueritefund.eu) was set up with the support of six leading European financial institutions (Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations, Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, European Investment Bank, Instituto de Crédito Oficial, KfW and PKO Bank Polski) to finance capital intensive investments in infrastructure projects.