Belgian council to take legal action over 100 MW offshore plant

In Belgium, the provincial council of West Flanders has announced it will take legal proceedings to prevent the construction of a 50 turbine 100 MW offshore wind plant by Seanergy at the Vlakte van de Raan near Knokke-Heist. The decision is supported by the majority coalition of the provincial government and three opposition parties. Only the green Agalev party is against the motion. The federal government's failure to involve local politicians in the planning process appears to be the main contributing factor to the broad political opposition to the project. Its June 25 decision to grant permission to Seanergy to build the wind farm12 kilometres off the Belgian coast has been greeted with protests from both sides of the Belgian/Dutch border. Electrabel's Philippe Massart says: "We have all the necessary permits from the federal government but we need permits from the Flemish regional authority to run a cable onshore and to connect it with a high voltage transformer station. However, the Flemish minister for energy, Steve Sevaert, used to be the president of one of our competitors and rivals for the offshore bid." Seanergy is a joint venture between Belgian electricity producers Electrabel and SPE and building company Jan de Nul.