Wind Energy in Belgium

Belgium.pngThe federal government began the first Belgian offshore wind park in the North Sea in 2003, and in 2004 created a 156-km2 area in the Belgian exclusive economic zone in international waters for wind parks. The first wind turbines were installed in this area in 2009. At the end of 2017, 232 offshore wind turbines were operational—producing 2,867 TWh/yr and providing electricity for approximately 8,000,000 families.

Belgium is a frontrunner when installed capacity is considered in relation to the available space, the bathymetry, and the distance from shore. Excellent researchers and research institutions place Belgium as a leader in offshore wind power. For example, the test zone for the Alstom-Haliade 150-6 MW offshore turbine demonstrates how Belgium’s offshore zones are perfect for research purposes.

To read more about Belgium's wind energy sector in 2017, read their chapter in the 2017 Annual Report.

National Objectives

In general, Belgium’s renewable energy policy is aligned with the EU 2020 targets. Belgium’s land-based and offshore wind energy developments are essential for both the Belgian and European targets for energy development from renewable sources. For 2020, Belgium has a binding national target for renewable energy equal to 13% of the gross final consumption of energy.

By 2020, the total land-based installed capacity in Belgium should reach 3,000 MW, and an additional 2,292 MW are planned offshore for a possible total of 5,292 MW of wind power. Offshore wind alone will account for 10% of the electricity demand and 8.5 TWh of electricity by 2020.

Progress and Operational Details

Offshore wind-generated electricity first began in 2009 and progressed rapidly to a total of 877 MW in 2017. The Belgian government is working quickly to reach the 2020 targets, although some social acceptance problems with a land-based connection caused delays in 2015 and 2016. This matter was resolved, and offshore installation is expected to increase in 2017.

Land-based wind capacity remained low until 2004, when the installed capacity and production started to double year after year from 96 MW in 2004 to 1,966 MW in 2017. Land-based wind is on track to reach its 2020 objectives after much progress during the last few years.

R,D&D Priorities and Budget

The Belgian government invested 2.728 million EUR (3.273 million USD) in offshore and land-based wind in 2017. Several key technologies that Belgium wants to invest in for the future have been put forward via the Steering Group of the SET-Plan. With some research projects, like GREDOR or SmartWater in the Walloon Region, Belgium is developing services that will ease the future integration of a larger share of wind energy by modernizing the electric grid and offering capacity for clearly tailored storage.