This winter, offshore wind energy covered some 9 percent of the total electricity demand in Belgium, which represents a 50 per cent increase over the annual average in 2019.
Six offshore wind farms in the Belgian sector of the North Sea produced an average of 639 gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity per month from the beginning of November 2019 until the end of March 2020. This is 45 per cent more than the average for the rest of the year, according to Belgian Offshore Platform (BOP), a non-profit association of investors and owners of wind farms in the Belgian part of the North Sea.
In February 2020, Belgian North Sea wind farms hit a record production of 804 GWh, measured at the Elia grid connection point. This corresponds to the annual consumption of 230,000 households, at 3,500kWh per year per household.
During the winter storms Ciara and Dennis, the majority of the wind turbines continued to produce electricity. On 29 February 2020, a production record was reached with 36 GWh of green electricity generated in the Belgian North Sea, BOP states.
The capacity factor reached an average of 56 per cent between November 2019 and April 2020, compared to 30 per cent in the non-winter months. In February 2020, it even reached 72 per cent. The average capacity factor in 2019 was 38.4 per cent.
Compared to the winter period 2018-2019, offshore wind farms produced 60 per cent more electricity this winter, according to BOP, which added that winter production will further increase next year due to rapidly advancing technology and new wind farm installations.