In mid-2015, ENGIE Electrabel decided to increase its onshore wind capacity to 400 MW by 2020. Fifteen months later, 40 wind farms and 144 wind turbines were already in service or under construction – enough to generate 300 MW. Scaling up its ambitions seemed the obvious step to the ENGIE subsidiary. By 2018, the 400 MW mark should be reached, and the capacity by 2020 should be over 500 MW!
With municipalities, businesses and local residents
How does ENGIE Electrabel plan to achieve this? Through lasting partnerships, with the country’s municipalities and intermunicipal bodies (50-50 public-private partnerships), but also with companies. The latter already include the likes of Infrabel for Greensky Park, which skirts the Louvain-Liège high-speed railway line, as well as corporate customers such as Umicore and Aurubis which have erected wind turbines on their sites.
And local residents also play a role in the deployment of onshore wind. Nearly 1,600 local people have become wind farm shareholders since the creation of Electrabel CoGreen, the cooperative which allows people to invest in wind farms close to where they live. The latest wind farm to be inaugurated by Bart Tommelein, the Flemish Minister of Energy, is located in Wielsbeke in the Wielsbeke d’Hooie industrial area.
ENGIE Electrabel can also rely on ENGIE’s research centres and the Group’s collaboration with the largest Belgian universities to help it achieve its goals and to continue moving towards more renewable energies. The academic world is performing research, among other things, on the potential of smaller wind turbines.
One billion kWh of sustainable power
With 500 MW of onshore wind capacity, i.e. 1 billion kWh, 300,000 households will be able to benefit from sustainable electricity. Moreover, this will reduce annual CO2 emissions by 440,000 tonnes! These figures show the determination of ENGIE and its subsidiaries in Belgium to reduce the impact of energy production on the planet and become a major player in the energy transition.