EIB backs Belgian wind parks

By Sandy Guthrie04 December 2018

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A €250 million loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB) will help support the construction of the Mermaid and Seastar wind farms off the Belgian coast, for which the total project costs will be around €1.3 billion.

The loan will be fully guaranteed under the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the central pillar of the Juncker Commission’s Investment Plan for Europe.

This will, for now, be the last wind project off the Belgian coast to receive support from the EIB, it said. The bank has helped to finance all of the wind parks in the Belgian North Sea offshore wind zone.

The two wind farms, with a combined capacity of 487MW, are under development by SeaMade.

From 2020, SeaMade will deliver renewable energy for 485,000 households, and will aim for a reduction of more than 500,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year. These concessions come under the Belgian government’s 20/20/20 strategy for climate and energy targets.

To date, including Seamade, the EIB has co-financed eight offshore wind projects in Belgium, with a combined capacity of 2.2GW, generating in total 7.8TWh of electricity, corresponding to the consumption of about 2 million households.

EIB vice president Andrew McDowell said,This is a great example of the work of the EIB benefiting Europeans. Not only has the EIB, the EU Bank, backed the construction of all the wind farms in the Belgian concession on the North Sea, it also financed the research and development into the wind harnessing technology itself.

“This new offshore wind farm will mean access to clean energy for thousands. This project has been made possible through the use of the EFSI, an example of the EIB and the Commission working together to finance clean, renewable energy for the people of Belgium, and something to be extremely proud of.”

Commission vice president Maroš Šefčovič, responsible for Energy Union, said, “This new Juncker Plan agreement is another example of how committed we are to investing in the energy of tomorrow.

“With already €15 billion of additional investments mobilised in the environment and resource efficiency sector, the EFSI is helping the EU achieve the transition towards climate neutrality, and to fulfil our objective of reaching over 80% of the EU’s electricity produced by renewable energy sources by 2050.”

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