Elia gets €99,7 million EU funding for Belgian energy island

The Federal Government and energy provider Elia have signed an agreement relating to the financial support offered up as part of the Recovery & Resilience Facility (RRF). The fund was established by the European Commission during the corona pandemic to support future-oriented investments being undertaken by Member States.

The signing of the protocol, which governs the €99,7 million grant being given to Elia, took place in the presence of the Minister of Energy, Tinne Van der Straeten.

Major energy hub

The RRF aims to make Europe’s economy greener and more robust – two objectives that are even more relevant given the current energy crisis.

The Princess Elisabeth Island will be a major energy hub. The artificial offshore energy island will be located 45 kilometers from the Belgian coastline to provide the country with electricity produced by the many offshore wind turbines in the North Sea. This electricity will be brought ashore via a shared cable system.

Double function

The future energy island will be built in the center of the Princess Elisabeth zone, where new wind turbines will be constructed to join the existing wind farms.

The island will have a double function: it will bundle all electricity produced by the new wind farms at sea and become the central power point for future interconnectors – the so-called undersea high tension lines to Great Britain (Nautilus) and Denmark (Triton).

Pyramid underwater construction

The island would become the transmission hub for the Belgian wind farms, the cable to and from Denmark, and the Nautilus cable to and from the UK.

Thanks to RRF’s funding, Elia will build the island’s foundations. The island will have five hectares and a pyramid underwater construction of concrete caissons filled with sand. The construction is expected to start in 2024 and should be completed by August 2026.

Biodiversity

Of the €99,7 million subsidy being granted to Elia, €1 million will go to third-party projects that will contribute to encouraging biodiversity at sea. A call for projects will be launched for this purpose.

The tendering process for the island is ongoing, as is the preparation of the environmental impact assessment, the preparation of the licensing process, and the application for a domain concession.

Ventilus

After the construction of the foundation, the installation of the electrical infrastructure will begin.

The linking of the wind farms to Elia’s grid is related to the commissioning of onshore grid reinforcement projects; more specifically, the Ventilus and Boucle Du Hainaut projects.

Elia Group is active in electricity transmission, supplying 30 million end-users with electricity. The company responds to the rapidly changing energy mix, i.e., the increasing role of renewable energy, and constantly adapts its transmission grid accordingly.

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