Belgium Wind Energy Storage

Belgium Gets Agressive on Wind Power

Written by
Posted January 28, 2013

As part of Belgium's phase-out of nuclear energy and move  toward renewables, the country plans to build an island from scratch to store excess energy generated from offshore wind farms.

"We have a lot of energy from the wind mills and sometimes it just gets lost because there isn't enough demand for the electricity," a government spokeswoman told Reuters. "This is a great solution."

Over the next five years, a doughnut-shaped island will be built out of sand about four kilometers off the coast. Just three kilometers in diameter, it will mostly be a huge seawater reservoir in the middle that's used to store and recover energy.

The system works by combining wind energy and hydroelectric power to pump seawater in and out of the reservoir. When demand is low, the pumps rely on excess wind energy to pump out the water. As demand increases, the water is let back in, which regenerates the electricity - like with a hydroelectric dam.

The island would also house an offshore substation to convert the voltage of offshore wind for the electric grid.

The project hasn't gotten the go-ahead yet and at least partially relies on strengthening transmission lines that would carry the energy to land.

Nuclear power accounted for 57% of Belgium's energy in 2011, but the country is seeking to reduce that dependence with the help of 2,300 megawatts (MW) in wind power generated by its North Sea wind farms.

Belgium hopes to shut down its two nuclear power plants by 2025, each of which produce 3,000 MW of electricity.

As of 2011, only 1,078 MW of wind power connected to Belgium's grid, but that could grow to more than 4,000 MW by 2020, says the European Wind Energy Association.

The original version of this article can be found here.

Enjoy this article? Get more in our Free Newsletter

Get the inside track on the most lucrative stock plays in today's scorching-hot alternative and renewable energy markets.

Sign up for the FREE Energy and Capital daily e-Letter from alternative energy experts Jeff Siegel and Nick Hodge. We'll also send you our latest report on Wind Investing straight to your inbox.

Your Privacy is Assured.

Jeff Siegel on CNBC

Green Chip Stocks Editor Jeff Siegel, featured guest on CNBC's Green Week

Related Articles

Wind Power Tax Credit Renewed
The wind production tax credit, which allows wind companies to afford development, has been renewed as part of the fiscal cliff deal.
Middle East, Africa Could Thrive on Solar Power
In oil producing nations where high oil prices and higher domestic consumption are hurting revenue, renewable power could thrive...
Smart City Investment Opportunities
The smart city technology market could grow at a CAGR of 16.2% for the next eight years. And this is just the early stages.