Belgium

Belgium

Funding decree for next Belgian projects

BELGIUM: The government has issued the eagerly awaited decree allowing funding for its next offshore projects: Northwester 2 (224MW) and Seamade (487.2MW), which combines the Mermaid (235.2MW) and Seastar (252MW) sites.

Otary is currently building the Rentel offshore wind project off Belgium's North Sea coast (pic: Deme Group)
Otary is currently building the Rentel offshore wind project off Belgium's North Sea coast (pic: Deme Group)

The decree still has to be approved by the European Commission and Belgium’s Council of State before it comes into force.

As agreed in October, the developers Parkwind and Otary will receive a strike price of €79/MWh for 16 years or for 63,000 full load hours (FLH) of production, whichever comes first.

To help cover the high up-front costs, for the first five years the tariff will be calculated on the basis of 4,100 FLH/year, which the government believes is an overestimate. The developers will then reimburse any overpayment in the form of cash, green certificates or by producing additional electricity, or a combination of the three.

The government estimates that the new mechanism will save consumers €3.9 billion compared to the €138/MWh awarded previously. Grid connection is not included.

From the developers’ side, one reason they could agree the significantly lower tariff is because they were able to change the turbines and so benefit from the latest technology. Seastar and Mermaid will feature SGRE’s new 8MW turbines while Northwester 2 will mark the first commercial deployment of MHI Vestas’ V164-9.5MW model.

Using these more powerful and efficient turbines "helps in developing a business case on €79/MWh" Mathias Verkest, CEO of the Mermaid consortium, explained.

The projects must be on line by the end of 2020. This also requires the grid connection via the Modular Offshore Grid (MOG), which is due to be operational as scheduled in September 2019.

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