Tuesday, February 26, 2019 — Today, the first wind turbines in Norther, the largest offshore wind farm in Belgium, have begun supplying electricity to the Belgian grid. Construction on Norther is still in full swing. But four of the turbines that are already finished were connected to the power grid today, providing thousands of families with green power generated by the largest wind turbines in the country. This is the first step towards the full delivery of the park, expected this Summer. Starting up Norther is an important step towards ensuring supply security in our country. Norther will provide electricity to 400.000 families.
In a nutshell:
- As of today, Norther is supplying its first electricity to the Belgian grid via Eneco/Engie
- Engie and Eneco each buy a 50 percent share of the electricity for their customers
- Construction is on schedule – Norther will be completed by the summer
- Norther start-up is important for electricity supply security in Belgium
The installation of Norther’s 44 turbines began earlier this month. It is the final and most crucial stage in the construction of Belgium’s largest offshore wind farm. Twelve turbines have already been installed, and today, the first turbines are being connected to Stevin, the new high-voltage station of Elia in Zeebrugge. That way, the wind energy generated will flow into the power grid and will be sold to Engie (50%) and Eneco (50%). On final delivery, Norther’s electricity supply will cover 400,000 families’ energy usage.
“The first connection of Norther to the power grid is a landmark event in realising the targets for renewable energy in 2020. Through our Stevin connection point, that was taken into service in 2017, we can inject offshore wind power into our grid. In that way, Norther and Elia contribute to the integration of renewable energy in Belgium’s electricity grid.”
Chris Peeters, CEO of high-voltage operator Elia
Important milestone in Belgian offshore industry
The Norther wind farm is located 23 kilometers off the haven of Ostend and has a total capacity of 370 megawatts, the largest capacity of all Belgian wind farms. This way, Norther is actively contributing towards Belgium’s 2020 climate targets.
Norther—a project led by shareholders Elicio, Eneco, and DGE (wholly owned subsidiary of Mitsubishi Corporation)—will be fully operational this summer.
“With this project, Belgium takes a big step forward in reducing its CO2 emissions. This is a landmark for everyone working on this project: the team, the contractors, the shareholders and the authorities. Without them, we wouldn’t be at this point.”
Dennis Sanou, Norther project director
Norther’s port offices are located in the new port development zone in Ostend. This is where all the offshore players are gathered. This is the base from where the farm will be monitored and maintained.
“I’m overjoyed about this first important step in the operational stages of Norther. The more renewable energy we produce, the less we have to rely on other polluting technologies. At the same time, the offshore economy gives us jobs for the companies in the port of Ostend, not only for the construction but also later for the management and the maintenance of the wind farms. This proves us again that sustainability and economy can go hand in hand.”
Bart Tommelein, mayor of Ostend and former Flemish minister of Energy and state secretary for the North Sea
Norther is the sixth wind farm in the North Sea. Together, the six wind farms will provide electricity to a total of 1.3 million households. For the construction, Norther called in two suppliers, MHI Vestas Offshore Wind and Van Oord. Van Oord oversees the design, engineering, delivery, and commissioning of the foundations of the wind turbines and the electrical infrastructure (transformer station and cabling) and will be responsible for transporting the wind turbines. For this, Van Oord is using its jack-up ship Aeolus. Danish company MHI Vestas is supplying the 44 turbines which each have a maximum production capacity of 8.4 MW.