Offshore Wind Costs in Belgium Lower than European Average
The net support costs for society of offshore wind in Belgium is lower than in neighbouring countries. Gross income for the various projects also lies below the European average. This appears from a comparative report by an independent consultancy firm, 3 E, in which the various support systems of 6 European countries were compared. Pursuant to the study, the Belgian Offshore Platform (BOP) is requesting a cost-efficient support policy for offshore wind that affords attention to the interests of both consumers and investors.
In the Benchmarking Study on Offshore Wind Incentives the independent consultancy firm, 3 E, compares the current Belgian support policy for offshore wind with that of German, France, the Netherlands, Great Britain and Denmark. The researchers calculated both the cost for society and the gross project income. In this respect, differences between the countries regarding the various aspects supported, such as duration and possible government subsidies for cable costs were taken into account.
3 E calculated the average cost price over a period of 20 years per MWh generated. According to projections, the cost for society for offshore wind in Belgium amounts to EUR 70.7 per MWh generated, which is lower than the European average (EUR 72,1 per MWh). Gross project income is also one of the lowest (EUR 60.6 /MWh as compared to the average of EUR 64.7/MWh).
3E’s study was commissioned by the Belgian Offshore Platform, an association uniting the most important Belgian players investing in renewable energy in the Belgian part of the North Sea. BOP commissioned this study to get an objective perspective perspective of the actual cost needed to back offshore wind in Belgium in comparison with the neighbouring countries.
Recommendations by BOP
BOP is asking for a speedy decision on a sound support system and rapid reinforcement for the transmission network (Elia) in order to inject electricity into the Belgian network to encourage further offshore wind development in Belgium.
BOP is of the opinion that it is imperative that a balance be found between manageable cost to society and an investment climate which the developers will find both stable and encouraging.
Added value for society
The wind farms that have been planned for the North Sea make a substantially important contribution to Belgium’s objectives for renewable energy. Their installed capacity of approximately 2,200 MW means that the various offshore wind farms will generate an annual electricity yield of 7,700,000 MWH (once they have become fully operational).
This corresponds to:
- 9% of Belgium’s total electricity consumption (80 a 85 TWh)
- 46% of all Belgian households
- Energy for the 66 largest cities in Belgium (5,082,000 inhabitants).
Offshore wind not only guarantees power supply in Belgium, but it also creates direct and indirect employment (+/- 20,000 jobs) in innovative technology. Belgium is currently one of the top 3 offshore wind countries in Europe as regards installed capacity, (380 MW).
Press release, March 28, 2013; Image: C-Power N.V., Tom D’Haenens