The proposed "Zandvliet-Reimerswaal" wind farm will be a joint venture in the fullest sense, with the two companies being equally involved in the construction, operation and financing of the NLG 50 million/BEF 1 billion project. The site will also reflect the project's international character. Seven of the eventual 14 turbines will be erected on Dutch territory, within the boundaries of the Reimerswaal local council, and seven on land owned by the Flemish authorities in the Zandvliet region.
On the Dutch side, both the Zeeland regional council and the local council in Reimerswaal have signalled their approval. The Flemish half of the site is owned by the Belgian Waterways Authorities. The developers are hopeful the Flemish government will slightly modify its planning rules so the project can proceed.
The site was selected following a joint feasibility study begun in 1995 based on earlier surveys by certification agency KEMA and Tractabel Engineering, who were commissioned to produce a Belgian Wind Atlas for Electrabel. The Antwerp-harbour site is non-residential and thus the developers anticipate no problems of noise pollution, while power can be delivered to the Belgian national grid via the nearby Zandvliet high voltage station.
To optimise the site, turbines with the largest possible capacity are planned, possibly 14, 1.5 MW units. In accordance with legal requirements the choice of constructor will be decided through a Europe-wide public tender.
Until recently, Electrabel -- responsible for some 80% of electricity generation, transmission and distribution in Belgium -- had shown little interest in wind beyond its long standing string of turbines along the harbour wall at Zeebrugge. Now, however, news of the Reimerswaal-Zandvliet project comes hard on the heels of Electrabel's announcement that it plans to invest BEF 250 million in a 3-6 MW wind plant at Buetgenbach, Hautes Fagnes in the Ardennes. If a planning permit is granted, the wind plant could be on-line before November, doubling Belgium's installed capacity.
Electrabel is a privately owned utility with engineering concern Tractabel holding a 40% controlling stake. A further 5% interest is held by Belgian local authorities while the remaining 55% is traded on the Belgian bourse.
Chief shareholder in the Middelburg-based, Delta Nutsbedrijeven is the Zeeland regional council. In comparison with Electrabel, Delta is a relatively experienced wind energy producer with interests in some 21 MW of Dutch wind capacity.