Artificial Energy Island
The environmental permission for Princess Elisabeth Island, the world’s first artificial energy island, to be situated in the North Sea has been obtained by Belgian transmission system operator (TSO) Elia. With further interconnectors connecting Belgium’s electrical system to Denmark and the United Kingdom, it will have a 3.5GW overall capacity.
Additionally, it will blend alternating and direct current.
Vincent Van Quickenborne, the Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium and Minister of Justice and the North Sea, granted the permission. It is anticipated that the project would start construction early in 2024 and be finished in around two years.
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A group of offshore service providers, including DEME and Jan De Nul, was awarded the project’s engineering, procurement, construction, and installation contract in February 2023. The project’s design is included within the contract as well.
Elia is now finishing up the project’s design, which should be submitted later in 2023. According to the TSO, the design may be changed to increase biodiversity on and around the man-made island.
An environmental permit was obtained in June for the construction of caissons on the Verbrugge Zeeland Terminals located in Bijleveldhaven.
Twenty-three concrete caissons measuring sixty meters in length, thirty meters in width, and thirty meters in height will be hauled to the offshore location and set in 2024 and 2025. Once installed, the island will be recovered via sand fill and prepped for the installation of electrical infrastructure.
Van Quickenborne said: “We plan to continue developing the North Sea as Belgium’s leading energy centre and Princess Elisabeth Island will be a crucial part of this process.
We are making significant progress in the development of our second offshore wind zone, the Princess Elisabeth Zone, with the issuance of this environmental permit. In 2028, the first wind turbines will be put into service, providing our families and businesses with more offshore green energy.
“We are thrilled that Elia is fully committed to nature-inclusive design—further proof of the value of protecting our marine environment, the power of taking an innovative approach, and the potential of renewable energy since Belgium is also the first nation in the world to install wind turbines in protected marine areas.”