Nuon named for Belgium's largest

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Dutch power company Nuon and Belgian project developer Vleemo have been chosen by the Antwerp port authority to build Belgium's largest onshore wind plant to date, a 36 turbine, 90 MW development to be built in the port area and due for completion in 2006.

The project will be executed in two phases. The first phase, due for completion in 2004, is for two, 2 MW wind turbines and will be built to the north of the Zandvliet lock complex. This phase is expected to cost around EUR 4.21 million. Together they should generate some nine million kilowatt hours a year say the port authorities. In the second phase the partners have contracted to build a further 34 turbines on the western side of the port area to a total installed capacity of 86 MW. These turbines are expected to be ready for operation in 2006.

The Dutch-Belgian combination beat off eleven other bidders for the project including Belgian power generator SPE in combination with developer Electrawinds, and the Interelectra-based group Aspiravi. According to harbour manager Leo Delwaide, the winners presented "the best offer both financially and in terms of quality." The partnership has guaranteed the harbour authority earnings of EUR 18 million over the next 20 years.

Nuon, however, is less forthcoming about the deal, saying that it will comment at a later date. The identity of Vleemo is a mystery to many within the Flemish wind community. Nuon will say only that Vleemo is an Antwerp-based project developer.

The contract puts Nuon in an ideal position to exploit the Flemish market for green electricity which is due to be liberalised this July. With a Flemish renewables production facility it will enjoy free access to the regional network. When complete, the Antwerp facility will generate enough power for 80,000 households.

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