Minister Demir opens site for most powerful Flemish wind farm
Flemish Minister for Environment and Energy, Zuhal Demir (N-VA), officially opened the construction site of the Stormwind farm near the Nyrstar site in Pelt on Monday, International Wind Day.
The wind farm is intended to become the most efficient wind farm in Flanders and will produce enough green electricity to meet the annual electricity consumption of some 8 000 households. “Projects such as the wind farm in Pelt are crucial if we want to achieve our renewable energy targets in Flanders,” says Demir.
First time in Flanders
The wind farm to the north of the Bocholt-Herentals canal in Pelt, in the province of Limburg, will consist of three wind turbines with an electrical capacity of 4,0 to 4,5 MW, a rotor diameter of 145 meters, and a tip height of 170 meters. This is the first time that wind turbines with such dimensions will be built in Flanders.
Two of the three turbines will be built on land owned by zinc smelter Nyrstar and neighboring company Velbo. A large part of the green electricity is fed into the high-voltage grid via Nyrstar’s electricity grid.
The cabling for the wind turbines is currently being laid. The construction of the turbines themselves is planned for spring 2021. Commissioning is scheduled for the summer of 2021.
The wind turbines will be connected to the weather radar of the Royal Meteorological Institute (KMI) and the Flemish Environmental Company (VMM) in Houthalen so that they can be shut down automatically when large swarms of birds are approaching.
“In addition to being the most efficient, this will also be the most bird-friendly wind farm in the country,” says Demir. “This proves that energy and nature can indeed go hand in hand.”
Mayor of Pelt, Frank Smeets (CD&V), hopes that the project can be continued. “Now that the air force has cleared the airspace above our municipality for wind turbines, we are working on a wind plan for the entire Nolim business park.”
“This will enable our companies to generate their own ‘clean’ energy, and everyone will be able to enjoy clean air and green energy,” explains Smeets.
This is the first time that wind turbines have been built so close to a military aviation radar in Flanders. Kleine Brogel’s radar installation is located approximately 9 km from the wind farm.
15 million euros investment
Residents of the municipality of Pelt and the city of Lommel were able to subscribe to shares of the cooperative Storm until the end of 2019 to share in the profits of the wind turbines. One share in the cooperative cost 125 euros and each family member could buy up to 24 shares.
The expected annual return is 4 to 6%, while the cooperative can also purchase green electricity at a preferential rate. According to press agency Belga, a total of 341 residents co-invested in the wind farm, worth 353 750 euros. The total investment cost of the wind farm is around 15 million euros, fully financed by private investors.
Initiator Storm Holding, whose shareholders include e.g. Belfius, the infrastructure fund of the Gimv, and the Indian company Swan Energy, currently runs 20 wind farms in Flanders. Proceedings are still in progress for some ten wind farms.