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 2016, 182 offshore wind turbines were operational—producing 2,390 TWh/yr and providing electricity for approximately 670,000 families. This was slightly lower than 2015 due to a decrease in wind resources.

Belgium is a frontrunner when comparing installed capacity with 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.

National Objectives

In general, Belgium’s renewable energy policy is aligned with the EU 2020 targets. The land-based and offshore wind energy developments are essential for 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.

Renewable Energy Targets

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

Policies Supporting Development

Regarding offshore wind power, the transmission system operator (TSO), Elia, is obligated to buy green certificates from generators at a minimum price set by federal legislation. This system was established in 2002 and was amended in 2014 and 2016. Purchase agreements must be approved by the regulator, CREG, and purchase obligations apply for a period of 22 years, but may not exceed the depreciation period.

Belgium introduced changes to the levelized cost of wind energy (LCOE) based formula to address the risk of overcompensation. Following the amendment, LCOE levels will be fixed by the Energy Minister for each beneficiary separately based on a proposal from the CREG. So far, prices have been fixed for two parks:
  • Norther at 124.00 EUR (130.57 USD)
  • Rentel at 129.80 EUR (136.68 USD)