Belgian pumped storage islands closer to reality

BELGIUM: Belgium's latest marine spatial plan (MSP) has designated two zones where "energy atolls" can be built.

Energy cables and pipelines in Belgium's marine spatial plan

These doughnut-shaped islands would provide pumped storage when Belgium's offshore wind farms generate excess capacity. Seawater would be pumped into the atoll and released when demand outstrips supply. The capacity will probably bei in the 300-600MW range.

The zones are 3-6 kilometres from the coast, one to the east of Zeebruge and the other on the Wenduine sand bank to the west. The MSP runs to 2019 and is currently being finalised.

The process to grant the concessions will start once the MSP has been adopted by royal decree. This is expected in January.

Several stakeholders have already expressed an interest in applying for the zones. These include the Iland consortium, comprising Electrabel, DEME and government-backed environmental investment agencies SRIW and PMV, all of which are already active in offshore wind.