The fate of two proposed offshore wind farms in Belgium now rests on a decision by state secretary for energy Olivier Deleuze. They will only proceed if he decides to ignore the advice of the regulator, the CREG, which recommends that licences not be granted.
The two projects -- Fina Eoila's proposal for 100 MW and Seanergy's for 300 MW -- are slated for an overlapping area off the Belgium coastline, just 65 kilometres long. CREG rejected Fina's for technical reasons and Seanergy's due to the project size and construction timetable -- 2005 at the earliest. Both projects would also have adverse effects on shipping and the fishing industry, according to the regulator.
Meanwhile, the environment minister, Magda Aelvoet, is due to announce her decisions on two separate 100 MW offshore projects which have already received approval from Deleuze -- one from C-Power (a consortium of electricity distributor Interelectra, construction company Dredging International, and Belgium wind turbine manufacturer Turbowinds) and the other from Seanergy (a joint venture between electricity producers Electrabel and SPE and building company Jan de Nul).
The Seanergy project looks set to proceed after the Management Unit of the North Sea Mathematical Models (MUMM), which advises Aelvoet, recommended approval. The unit advised against granting environmental permits for the C-Power proposal. Meanwhile, a consortium of Shell, Electrawinds, Belgian contractor Depret and French national utility EDF is expected to apply for permission in the next few weeks to build an offshore wind farm, 27 kilometres out to sea on the Thornton bank.