To contribute to reducing the emission of greenhouse gasses, Belgium needs to obtain 6% of the consumption of electricity in 2010 from renewable energy sources (European directive 2001/77/EC). The installation of windmills at sea can contribute to reaching this objective.
There are currently four projects for the construction of windmills in the Belgian part of the North sea: C-Power on the Thorntonbank, Belwind on the Bligh Bank, Northwind on the Lodewijkbank (formerly known as Bank Zonder Naam) and Norther, south east of the Thorntonbank.
The C-Power wind farm has 60 windmills and is located at 27 kilometres off Zeebrugge. The park will be built in water of 12 to 27 metres deep and the turbines will be installed in an area of 18 km² in size. Work has started on land in 2007 with the construction of the first 6 foundations. In 2008 the first 6 windmills have been installed at sea. You can follow the activities on the website of C-Power.
With a capacity of 330 megawatt, the Belwind farm will deliver energy to 330,000 households. This wind farm, which is located 42 kilometres off the coast of Zeebrugge, is today the world's furthest offshore wind farm. The park will be built in water of 20 to 35 metres depth and the turbines will be installed in an area of 35 km² in size. You can follow the activities on the website of Belwind.
Northwind requested an environmental permit for the construction and exploitation of a wind farm of 144 to 216 MW. The project would be located on the Lodewijkbank at a distance of 38 km from the coast. MUMM studied the environmental impact study and annexes and submitted its own assessment of environmental impact and its advice to the State Secretary for North Sea Affairs on April 15, 2009. Northwind obtained the environmental permit on 19/11/09. They will start the construction in 2011. You can follow the activities on the website of Northwind.
Norther received the environmental permit for the offshore wind farm south east of the Thorntonbank. With a capacity of 258 to 420 megawatt, the Norther farm will deliver energy to 230.000 to 430,000 households. The wind farm is located at a distance of 21 from the coast of Zeebrugge. The park will be built in water of 14 to 30 metres deep and the turbines will be installed in an area of 44 km² in size. Construction of the wind farm will start in 2014. The wind farm will start delivering electricity by the beginning of 2015.
Below images depicts the current situation.
Source: Management Unit of the North Sea Mathematical Models and the Scheldt estuary (MUMM)
More information on legislation and ecological monitoring can be found at the MUMM website - http://www.mumm.ac.be.