Belgians Bundle Offshore Wind Projects

Developers of the Mermaid and the Seastar wind farms in the Belgian North Sea have merged the two projects into one – the 487.2MW Seamade.

The merger was cleared by the European Commission earlier this month and will allow for both projects to be financed through one project transaction, the developers said. In addition, the European Commission also approved the entrance of Eneco Wind Belgium SA in the share capital of Seamade.

Seamade NV, a joint venture between Otary (70%), Electrabel (17.5%), and Eneco Wind Belgium SA (12.5 %), will now be responsible for the development of both the Mermaid and Seastar areas.

The developer said it hopes the regulatory framework, which was agreed upon with the Belgian government at the end of 2017, will soon be implemented after approval by the European Commission and publication of the relevant Royal Decrees.

Seamade NV aims to achieve financial close for the project by the end of 2018. The construction is expected to start in 2019 and the commissioning of the project is scheduled for the end of 2020.

Mathias Verkest, CEO of Seamade NV, said: “Through this merger, an international market trend is being followed by focussing not only on bigger turbines but creating synergies and scale effects. Strong cost reductions and the increasing maturity of offshore wind allows the financing and construction of even bigger projects.”

The Seamade wind farm will comprise 58 Siemens Gamesa wind turbines installed on monopile foundations and two offshore substations which will connect to ELIA’s Modular Offshore Grid.

Olivier Vanderijst, Chairman of the Board of Otary, said: “After achieving a financial close for Rentel, a project currently under construction, Otary is pleased to remain a leading actor of the Belgian offshore wind industry with the development of Seamade. Through this project, we also make a significant contribution to achieving the government’s climate objectives.” 

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