Third offshore wind farm scheduled for completetion in 2014
“Thanks to the framework created by the government, Belgium is at the top of offshore wind farms. We are the champions. Not only as far as construction of wind farms is concerned, but also as far as knowhow in the field is concerned. We can be proud of that,” said Northwind’s CEO Frank Coenen after announcing yesterday that financing for the third offshore wind farm on the Lodewijk Bank 30 kilometres from the Ostend coast is complete. The financial investment plan kept about one hundred agents from the banking, legal and insurance world hard at work for four months. The construction of the 72 Northwind wind turbines will start in March next year, with completion scheduled for mid-2014. Built at a cost of 850 million euros, the 216 MW park will generate enough current for 230 000 households. About 70% of the project will be financed by the banks and 30% by the project partners Parkwind the Belgian retail group Colruyt’s wind energy vehicle and the Belgian energy producer Aspiravi owned by 95 municipalities. Colruyt will contribute 209 million and Aspiravi about 70 million euros, with additional financial investments from the investment company Gimv, the Colruyt family, the Participatiemaatschappij Vlaanderen PMV. The European Investment Bank will extend a 335-million euro loan for the project, while Northwind has signed a 15-year contract with Electrabel for the electricity supply. Fifty percent of the park will be built by Belgian firms. The Belgian dredging giant DEME contracted the building of the foundations and turbine cabling to its offshore affiliate GeoSea while the export cabling will be done by competitor Jan De Nul. BNP Paribas and energy banker Green Giraffe are the key financial partners. Northwind will be responsible for linking the farm with the onshore grid, which will also serve the already operational Belwind park, another Coenen-Colruyt project. So far the first 55 turbines of Belwind have been completed and according to Coenen, they are “operating as expected”. Says Coenen: “In 2014 we plan to complete all the groundwork on Belwind phase two so that we can start building in 2015.” On Wednesday the final wind energy concession for the Belgian coast was officially awarded to the Mermaid Consortium which is 65% owned by Otary, the consortium of eight companies and investment businesses with previous experience with wind farms at sea. The remaining shares are owned by Electrabel. The total of seven offshore concessions that have been awarded translate as an investment of approximately 6.5 billion euros. By 2020 Belgian offshore wind farms must generate 50% of all renewable energy produced in the country.