Intermezzo: Belgian windfarms and the construction of one

Hi everybody,

Today I would like to deviate a little from the current debate about nuclear energy and die energiewende, while searching I found a short clip in wich they explain (briefly) how an offshore windfarm is build.

Seen as the clip has aired in april 2011, I did a bit of research to find out more about the progression of the project.

The project is situated on the Thorntonbank in the north sea. The Thorntonbank is a sandbank in front of the Belgian and the Dutch coast and is 25 meters higher than the surrounding seabed and about 20 km long.


The project started in 2002 and is/was divided into three parts


As you can see on the scheme the project is nearing its end, on the website of C-Power I found that they are expecting that the final phase will go into operation in september 2013.

The goals for the different phases are listed below


On this map you can spot the layout of the windfarm (the color of the windmill matches with the colors of the phases given in the scheme above)


The annual generation of the windfarm is about 1000GWh, this should be enough energy for the annual consumption of 600 000 people.

Seen as the first clip doesn’t really go into details, the following video is interesting to watch.  It provides more details about the different steps in the construction.

The phase 2 windmills on the pillars that where seen in the first and second movie clip.

Phase II windturbines

The windmills of the first phase where not fitted on this type of pillars


And it is certainly good to know that this not the only company interested in Belgian offshore energy production but that there are a lot of other company’s also active in the North sea.  The Belwind windfarm is already operating since 2010 and has an output of 550GWh.

windmills and concessieaanvragen

Thank you for reading and let me know what you think about these Belgian projects!

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5 thoughts on “Intermezzo: Belgian windfarms and the construction of one

  1. woutcordeel says:

    That is indeed a good initiative because the suitable areas for wind mill parks are limited in Belgium. With new technologies like the ‘direct drive’ even larger wind mills can be built in the future. Moreover the HVDC Plus, also a development of Siemens, can be used to transport the energy with less losses, thus the efficiency of those parks improves constantly.

  2. I think that the new way of constructing those windmills is a great innovation, windmill parks in the sea are a great initiative and should be exploited optimally. But I have a question, is the transportation of the energy difficult/expensive?

    • deckersbram says:

      Interesting question, I will look into that and try to make a blog about it

      • jefhimself says:

        A former professor of mine, Ronnie Belmans used to be chairman of the board of directors of Elia (I think he resigned as chairman at some point), the operator of the high-voltage electrical grid in Belgium and thus the actual ‘transporters’. He never talked about the practicalities of the energy transport from those parks to mainland (besides the basic process of installing the cables), but I think he did say that they would require changes to the network on the mainland too, and that that might be a problem. If I remember correctly, installing a new high voltage line takes somewhere between 10 and 15 years. By far, most of that time is spent getting the permits (due to environmental concerns/passing people’s property). On land, he gave me the impression that’s more of a problem, than the actual cost (to him at least).

  3. gabuglio says:

    If Korneels question very interesting and I am curious about the answer.
    I also have an aditional question.
    Is the construction of these kind of windmill farms at sea unlimited? Or are there also limitations due to the ‘traffic’ of ships?

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