December a bumper month for wind farms
Strong winds during the first part of December this year ensurde that 2011 will end as a reasonably good year for Belgian wind farms. “So far our production is as high as it normally is for the entire month,” said Chris Derde, president of the Flemish Wind Energy Association, VWEA. The 1,000 megawatt wind turbine production on these days constituted a tenth of the 10,000 megawatt electricity consumed. This is higher than in France, where the record is 6% of electricity consumption, but less than in Spain, where 50% of all consumption is derived from wind energy during peak times. “No matter what, based on the most recent production data, 2011 has been a better year than 2010 and 2009,” confirms Marleen Vanhecke of Electrawinds. The turbines in Western and Eastern Flanders performed particularly well. C-Power’s offshore wind farm also recorded more wind during this time than last year. The second offshore wind farm, Belwind, did not quite meet its budget during the period April to November, but managing director Frank Coenen is positive about reaching the budget by the end of the book year on 31 March 2012. Traditionally the winter months generate the best yield as the wind speed is at its highest then. “We are happy when the wind blows, but not too strong,” he says. As soon as the wind speed exceeds 90 km per hour, the turbines switch off automatically to prevent damage. This year 25 turbines with a total capacity of 50 megawatt were built on land in Flanders, bringing the total number of turbines spread throughout Flanders to 175, which translates as a capacity of 300 megawatt.