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Optimal offshore wind development in Belgium

Research project CP/21 (Research action cp)

Persons :

Description :


The European Commission has published its White Paper on Renewable Sources of Energy in 1997, in which the target was set to achieve 12% of the domestic consumption of the European Union by 2010. In 2001, the European directive on green electricity was published, in which indicative targets for each EU member states. Belgium is expected to strive towards a contribution of 6% of renewable sources (RES) to its gross inland consumption by 2010.
Wind energy represents a major form of sustainable electricity generation. With an installed capacity of the order of 13GW, wind energy is currently the 3rd highest source of RE electricity in the EU, and constituted almost 1% of total electricity generating capacity in 1999. Undoubtedly, the resource potential, particularly in offshore areas, is enormous, and with several initiatives underway to increase the share of wind energy consumption in the European Union (EU), it is clear that the development of offshore wind energy will play a crucial role.
In the framework of the European Commission’s (EC) Renewable Energy Strategy, wind energy, with a target of 40GW by 2010, is expected to provide the second most important contribution to the growth in energy from RES. The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) has gone a step further in anticipating a feasible target of 60GW for all wind energy by 2010, 5GW coming from offshore resources.

Project description

Belgium is at the forefront of implementation of offshore wind in its territorial seas, and - depending on the outcome of running administrative procedures - be among the first EU member states with large first generation offshore wind farms in its territorial seas.


(A) Determine the resources for offshore wind energy production in the Belgian territorial sea by:

- Scanning the geological and geotechnical restrictions;
- Studying the wind climate for the envisaged region;
- Analysis of the options for grid-connection.

(B) Study on the technological evolutions and the economic viability of long-term options by studying:

- The offshore wind turbine technology evolution scenario's;
- The evolution in the electrotechnical schemes for interconnection and the grid connection based on the expected technological evolutions and the likely evolutions of the grid architecture
The long term options for support structures, installation procedures and O&M procedures

(C) Determining the physical, technical and economical potential for offshore wind application in the Belgian territorial sea based on the indicated specific resources and expected technological evolutions.

Interaction between the different partners

Co-ordination: 3E

1. Survey of resources

1.1. Geological and geotechnical study of the Belgian territorial seas: RUG RCMG
1.2. Wind resources: 3E
1.3. Availability of a high-voltage grid connection: KUL ESTA/ELEN
1.4. Investigation of all static and dynamic factors limiting the potential in practice: 3E

2. Calculation of technological options

2.1. Wind park technology: 3E
2.2. Electric interconnection and grid-connection schemes: KUL ESAT/ELEN

3. Definition of the potential

3.1.Calculation of the local potential: 3E and in discussion with RUG, KUL and the user group
3.2. Calculation of the global potential: 3E, RUG, KUL and the user group

4. Recommendations on policy measures and dissemination of the results: 3E, RUG, KUL and the user group

Expected results and/or products

1. Hierarchical classification and integrated mapping of sites based on geological, geotechnical, morpho- and sedimentdynamical criteria.
2. Calculation and classification of the Belgian North Sea wind resources.
3. Detailed parameterisation of the relevant available grid-infrastructure options.
4. Inventory and spatial definition of non-technical exclusive criteria.
5. Technology figures of off-shore wind turbines anno 2005 and anno 2015.
6. Software tool for static and dynamic calculations of grid-interaction of off-shore wind energy.
7. Report on the simulation results of the grid interaction of different electro-technical options for interconnection and grid connection of off-shore wind turbines.
8. Listing of the local physical, technical and economical potential for off-shore wind energy in the Belgian territorial sea anno 2005 and anno 2015.
9. Report on the global physical, technical and economical potential for off-shore wind energy in the Belgian territorial sea anno 2005 and anno 2015.
10. Report on the recommended policy measures for the optimal exploitation of the Belgian off-shore wind resources.
11. Workshop presenting the results of the project.

The involvement of at least 6 public administration stresses the multi-sectorial approach, which is required, and the need to dispose of an objective analysis which can integrate all the policy objectives of the different services involved.
The exploitation of results aims at using the research results as a reference guide for the regional and federal administration, allowing them to make well-considered assessments when deciding/advising upon permits and concessions.
- Taking into account expected technological evolutions.
- To put the authority of each service in perspective of the - sometimes conflicting - objectives of other public services.
- Stimulating the discussion en negotiations between the involved public services based on facts and analysis.



3E nv
Main activities:

- photovoltaic solar energy;
- active solar thermal energy;
- wind power;
- hydro power;
- energy in buildings;
- energy and environmental policy.

KULeuven, Department Electrical Engineering
Main activities:

- analysis, design and optimisation of the steady state and dynamic behaviour of electromagnetic energy transducers and electro-heat applications;
- development of high performance two and three dimensional field computation software (finite element method approach;
- measurement and computation of the performance, efficiency, heating vibrations and acoustic noise of electrical machines;
- DSP control, automation and simulation of variable speed drives, active filters and powerline communication applications;
- power quality: modelling of the impact of harmonics and voltage dips, studying PQ parameters and mitigation measures;
- analysis, design, safety issues and power quality aspects of renewable energy conversion, with special emphasis towards photovoltaic applications;
- techno-economical studies of the liberalised electricity market.

Ghent University, Renard Centre of Marine Geology, Prof. Dr. Jean-Pierre Henriet
Main activities:

- design and application of original very high-resolution seismic techniques in the offshore and limnic environment;
- multibeam mapping and acoustical seafloor characterisation often in combination with sediment sampling and/or coring and sediment transport measurements.

Contact Information

Geert Palmers
3E nv
Verenigingsstraat 39, B-1000 Brussels
Tel: +32 (0)2 217 58 68; Fax: +32 (0)2 219 79 89

Ronnie Belmans and Johan Driesen
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KULeuven)
Onderzoeksgroep Elektrische Energie (ESAT/ELEN)
Kasteelpark Arenberg 10, B-3001 Heverlee
Tel: +32 (0)16 32 10 20; Fax: +32 (0)16 32 19 85

Jean-Pierre Henriet
Universiteit Gent (RUG)
Renard Centre of Marine Geology
Vakgroep Geologie en Bodemkunde
Krijgslaan 281, S8, B-9000 Gent
Tel: +32 (0)9 264 45 85; Fax: +32 (0)9 264 49 97

Users Committee

- H.J.M. Beurskens - European Wind Energy Association - ECN Energieonderzoek Centrum Nederland - Petten (NL)
- Tom De Mulder - Ministerie van de Vlaamse Gemeenschap - Division of Flanders Hydraulics - Borgerhout
- Marc Deprez - FOD Economie, KMO, Middenstand en Energie - Brussel
- Frank Maes - Universiteit Gent (UGent) - Vakgroep Internationaal Publiek Recht - Maritiem Instituut - Gent
- Jan Mees - Vlaams Instituut voor de Zee (VLIZ) - Oostende
- Frank Mostaert - Ministerie van de Vlaamse Gemeenschap - Afdeling Waterbouwkundig Laboratorium en Hydrologisch Onderzoek - Borgerhout
- Jan Seys - Vlaams Instituut voor de Zee (VLIZ) - Oostende
- Jean Verbeeck - ELIA s.a. - Brussel

Documentation :

Tertiary and quaternary Geology of the Belgian Continental Shelf  Le Bot, S. - Van Lancker, V.- Deleu, S. ... et al  Brussels : Federal Science Policy Office, 2003 (SP1212)
[To download]  [To order

Optimal Offshore Wind Energy Developments in Belgium : final report  Le Bot, S. - Van Lancker, V. - Deleu, S. ... et al  Brussels : Federal Science Policy, 2004 (SP1331)
[To download]  [To order

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