Belgians to Start Building World’s First Artificial Energy Island Next Year (VIDEO)
Belgian offshore construction companies Jan De Nul and DEME, through their consortium TM EDISON, have won the tender for the construction of the Princess Elisabeth Island in their home country, which will be the first artificial energy island in the world.
The artificial island, which will be built some 45 kilometres off the Belgian coast and will occupy an area of approximately 5 hectares above the waterline, will serve as the link between the offshore wind farms in the country’s second, 3.5 GW Princess Elisabeth offshore wind zone and its onshore high-voltage grid.
The area set aside for the installation of the electrical infrastructure will be approximately 6 hectares in size, which is equivalent to about 12 football pitches, Jan De Nul said in a press release.
Belgium’s transmission system operator (TSO) Elia opened the tender for the construction of the island in January last year. According to Jan De Nul, the criteria that brought the contract to the consortium include technical quality and commercial and contractual conditions, as well as safety and experience and expertise in the field of dredging, land extension, coastal protection and civil engineering that both companies have.
The energy island will be built with concrete caissons filled with sand and will feature a small harbour and a helicopter platform to allow maintenance crews to visit the island. With the construction contract now in place, the final design of the island will be performed.
DEME and Jan De Nul will commence the construction of the foundations in early 2024 and are scheduled to complete this part of the work until August 2026. After the foundations, work on installing the high-voltage infrastructure that will bring the electricity from Belgium’s future offshore wind zone to shore will start.
In December last year, Elia Transmission Belgium and the Belgian Federal Government signed an agreement on a EUR 99.7 million grant that Elia will use to build the foundations for the Princess Elisabeth Island.
The island will combine both direct current (HVDC) and alternating current (HVAC), with its high-voltage infrastructure able to bundle the wind farm export cables from the Princess Elisabeth Zone together, while also serving as a hub for future interconnectors with the UK (Nautilus) and Denmark (TritonLink).
This January, Elia launched tenders for the electrical infrastructure of the energy island.
“This project is a pioneering one for several reasons. It is the most cost-effective and reliable way to bring offshore wind to shore. It will be an island that provides options for the future. When we connect it to other countries, the Princess Elisabeth Island will become the first offshore energy hub. After our construction of the first hybrid interconnector in the Baltic Sea, the island is another world first. It solidifies Elia Group’s position as a company that is at the cutting edge of technology, which is necessary for the energy transition”, said Chris Peeters, CEO of Elia Group.
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