Belgium approves plan to reform offshore wind subsidies

BELGIUM: The Belgian cabinet has approved a plan to reform the support mechanism for offshore wind.

Belgium's parliament, Palace of the Nation in Brussels

The plan by environment and energy minister Melchior Wathelet is to reduce the subsidy for offshore wind if the price of electricity rises in order to minimise costs to consumers while still allowing companies to make a return on their investment.

The tariff is currently fixed at EUR 138/MWh, which will be revised in 2017.

Belgium’s Commisson for the Regulation of Eletricity and Gas will reassess the price of electricity and maintenance costs every three years.

A statement from Wathelet said the new support system guarantees a certain rate of return. This means producers are not making excessive profits when the electricity price is high and they are not forced to abandon their investment when the electricity price is low.

The inauguration of the 325MW Thornton Bank project last summer lifted Belgium's installed offshore capacity to 495MW.