Municipalities welcome wind turbines

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Inter-municipal companies have become a vehicle for  an increasing number of municipalities in Flanders to invest in wind energy. Project developers see these municipalities as attractive partners who are not only willing to come up with financial investments but can also facilitate permits and connections. Even though wind energy sometimes meets with protest from action groups and neighbourhood residents, many municipalities seem keen to invest their financial reserves with these inter-municipal associations. This can be seen as a contribution towards reaching the European target of 20% green energy by 2020. Another argument in favour of these investments is that citizens and businesses financially support green electricity as consumers, which makes them a party entitled to a portion of the profit earned by municipalities. Many town councils in the Antwerp Kempen are currently considering a participation in Storm Holding to invest in wind farms in their own and neighbouring municipalities. On Wednesday the town council of Edegem gave the go-ahead for the Kempen inter-municipal association IKA to invest in the Storm project and most of the other Kempen municipalities plan to discuss the dossier during the next few weeks. The Limburg municipalities, united under the holding Nuhma, are traditionally known to be the biggest investors in renewable energy, with participation in the offshore wind farm C-Power and green electricity provider Aspiravi. Last week Aspiravi started operating a wind farm with ten wind turbines along the E314. Its installed capacity of 23 megawatt makes it the biggest wind farm in Flanders. In recent years many project developers have also approached the inter-municipal company Finiwo, an umbrella association for East and West Flanders municipalities. Finiwo decided earlier to participate in a wind farm in the Zeebrugge harbour. Most of the other municipalities are not as keen as they have a close cooperation with electricity producer Electrabel. In the past their investments in wind energy were limited to Electrabel projects concentrated in the Electrabel Green Projects Flanders EGPF.

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