Flemish Minister of the North Sea, Vincent Van Quickenborne (Open Vld), has granted an environmental permit for Princess Elisabeth Island, which that will be built off the Belgian coast in the coming years. That is what high-voltage grid operator Elia announced on Tuesday.
According to Elia, obtaining a permit is crucial for constructing the artificial energy island. Van Quickenborne calls it “an essential link in our future energy supply”.
Princess Elisabeth Island will be located about 45 kilometers off the Belgian coast and cover about six hectares – 24 football fields – and by constructing this artificial energy island, Belgium scores a world first.
The island 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). It will become the transmission hub for the Belgian wind farms, the cable to and from Denmark, and the Nautilus cable to and from the UK.
Jointly constructed by DEME and Jan De Nul
The price of the project was estimated at 450 million euros, but, in the meantime, it has increased to 600 million euros due to inflation and increased prices of raw materials. Europe will pay 100 million via the Recovery Fund. In October, Elia estimated the total cost – for the island construction and all interconnectors and cables – at more than two billion euros.
As a hub of offshore energy, the island will deliver cheap energy for families and businesses. Belgian dredgers Deme and Jan De Nul will jointly construct the island between March 2024 and August 2026. The fact that the two companies, both world players, are joining forces is prompted by the complexity of the project and the tight timing. In the meantime, they’ve already started preparations.