Wind turbine construction turns into a trickle

Last year only 25 wind turbines were built on land in Flanders.  They can only generate 75 Megawatts (MW). The low number is being blamed on protests by residents and local authorities as well as production difficulties.

Last year’s figure fades into insignificance if it’s compared to the 85 and 80 wind turbines that were constructed in Flanders in 2015 and 2017.

Bart Bode of the Flemish Wind Energy Association points to planning appeal procedures that drag on.  Objections are raised against three-quarters of all projects and procedures can be reinitiated up to ten times.

In addition several producers experienced difficulties and one went to the wall resulting in waiting lists for the delivery of wind turbines.

Wind turbines on Flemish soil – some 550 in all – produce 1,300 MW.  This corresponds to the production of a large nuclear power plant.  However, nuclear power is generated around the clock, while wind energy is reliant on the weather. It took twenty years to build all 550 wind turbines.

For Flemish energy and climate targets to be met capacity needs to be doubled to 2,500 MW. By using more efficient wind turbines fewer will be needed.

The sector believes this target is feasible.  Experts point to available space in Flemish ports and along motorways, e.g. between Jabbeke and Veurne.

Most wind turbines on land are located in East Flanders and Antwerp Province due to the space available near the ports.  Flemish Brabant has fewest wind turbines due to the danger they could pose to planes at Brussels Airport.

The numerous wind turbines at sea fall under the responsibility of the federal government and contribute towards federal targets.