Europe backs Elia green links
€100m loan will help connect offshore wind to Belgian grid
The European Investment Bank (EIB) is to loan the Belgian transmission system operator Elia €100m that will help link offshore wind to the country’s mainland grid.
The loan has a tenor of seven years and will mainly be used for the Stevin project, which will also integrate the future energy-exchange between the UK Nemo project and the Belgian electricity network.
Offshore wind energy will be integrated through a double 380kV line that will run for 47km via Zeebrugge to Zomergem to distribute electricity across the Belgian network.
EIB said construction work is in its final stages, with the infrastructure currently being tested and scheduled to be put into service at the end of 2017.
The Nemo-link will connect to the Stevin route and will be the first interconnector between the UK and Belgium.
EIB vice-president responsible for Belgium Pim van Ballekom said: “Since 2009, the EIB has invested more than €2bn in renewable energy in Belgium, for example in the recently completed Nobelwind wind park near Oostende.
“It is important that this energy is transmitted as efficiently as possible to the national network and that is what this loan is all about.”
Elia chief financial officer Catherine Vandenborre said: “The energy transition means that more and more thermal power-plants that emit CO2 are replaced by wind and solar energy.
“We consequently need more transport capacity to bring renewable energy to the consumer.
“Stevin will as well enable the interconnection with the UK, which gives Belgium an even more central role in the European energy system.”