Europe will support the construction of the “Mermaid” and “Seastar” wind farms off the Belgian coast. This will come in the form of a loan of €250 million, fully guaranteed under the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the central pillar the Juncker Commission’s Investment Plan for Europe. The total project costs around €1.3 billion.
The two wind farms, with a combined capacity of 487 MW, are under development by SeaMade NV.
As of 2020, SeaMade will deliver renewable energy for 485.000 households, also allowing for a reduction of more than 500.000 tons of CO2 emissions per year. These concessions under the Belgian government’s 20/20/20 strategy will be – for now – the last wind project off the Belgian coast to receive support from the EIB, which has helped to finance all of the wind parks in the Belgian North Sea offshore wind zone.
To date, including Seamade, the European Investment Bank has co-financed 8 offshore wind projects in Belgium with a combined capacity of 2,2 GW, generating in total 7,8 TWh of electricity, corresponding to the consumption of about 2 million households.
EIB Vice-President Andrew McDowell commented: “This is a great example of the work of the EIB benefitting 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 European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), an example of the EIB and the Commission working together to finance clean, renewable energy for the People of Belgium, is 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 into the energy of tomorrow. With already €15 billion of additional investments mobilised in the environment and resource efficiency sector, the European Fund for Strategic Investments is helping the EU achieve the transition towards climate neutrality and fulfil our objective of reaching over 80% of the EU's electricity produced by renewable energy sources by 2050."
The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by its Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals. In 2017, the EIB invested over €1.6 billion in projects across Belgium in support of local companies, water and urban development projects as well as education, health and infrastructure. Wind power concessions in the North Sea have been granted for 2.27 GW of capacity, with around 871 MW currently under operation and an additional 664 MW under construction. The project will contribute to the EU renewable energy target for 2030.