The European Union will support the construction of the Rentel wind farm off the Belgian coast with a loan of up to EUR 300 million from the European Investment Bank (EIB). EUR 250 million of the loan will be guaranteed under the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the heart of the Investment Plan for Europe, in which the EIB is the strategic partner of the European Commission. The total cost of the project is estimated to be around EUR 1.1 billion, of which the EIB will provide approximately 27%.
The realisation of the new wind farm generates approximately 1400 direct jobs and another 1400 indirect jobs during development and construction stage. Another 100 new permanent jobs will be created when operational.
Rentel NV was founded by a consortium of Belgian renewable energy specialists who have joined forces to develop, finance, construct and operate offshore wind farms. The Rentel project will consist of 42 wind turbines and will become one of the largest offshore farms in Belgian territorial waters with a capacity of 309 MW*. It will supply green electricity to approximately 285,000 Belgian households. The windfarm will be located 34 km off the Belgian coast, between the operational C-Power and Northwind projects, which have also been supported by the EIB.
EIB Vice-President Pim van Ballekom commented: “Renewables are among the key priorities for the Investment Plan for Europe. In the last five years alone, the EIB has invested nearly EUR 600 million in wind energy projects in Belgium to ensure a safe, affordable and diversified supply for a large portion of the Belgian population. Fighting climate change is a long-term goal and this will certainly not be the last wind project we support in Belgium.”
European Commissioner responsible for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, Marianne Thyssen, said: "I am very proud that the Investment Plan is supporting such a worthwhile project. When you consider its size, Belgium really is punching above its weight with EFSI financing so far. The renewable energy sector is vitally important for job creation as well as of course for our COP21 objectives, and I welcome the signature of this project today."
After reaching its financial close today, offshore construction of the project is set to begin in the second quarter of next year. With some EUR 250 million of the EIB investment in the project provided under EFSI, Rentel would be one of the largest projects in Belgium under the Investment Plan for Europe to date. The development of offshore wind energy will support EU and national targets for renewable energy generation and contribute to security of energy supply and environmental objectives.
Rentel occupies an area of 22,72 km² in water depths between 22m and 36m. The project will employ a new, larger wind turbine, the Siemens D7 Platform which has a rotor diameter of 154m (the wingspan of two Airbus A380’s parked sided by side) and a hub height of 106m.
* The nameplate capacity of the Rentel wind farm will be 294 MW. This capacity can increase to up to 309 MW using a software algorithm, allowing each turbine to increase its maximum power output by 5% under certain wind conditions. The energy generated by the Rentel site would be enough to power at least 258.000 Belgian households.
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