Siemens Energy has secured its first wind power contract in Belgium with an order for the first phase of the "Wind aan de Stroom" project on the left bank of the Schelde River in Antwerp harbor.
This first phase consists of 11 direct-drive wind turbines of the Siemens D3-platform. However, the project can be extended to 17 wind turbines. Component deliveries will start in early 2015 and installation of the turbines is scheduled for summer 2015. The contract includes a service and maintenance agreement for a period of 15 years.
Wind power plant connected to smart grid
“One of the challenges of the project is the installation of the turbines on tight sites in the port due to a high density of industrial and harbor operations”, said Jan Kjaersgaard, CEO Onshore of Siemens Wind Power. “However, our D3 direct-drive wind turbines ordered for Wind aan de Stroom match these preconditions due to their compact design and low weight.”
The turbines are rated at 3 megawatts each and will be mounted on 115 meter towers. The rotor diameters are 113 meters. One turbine will be equipped with a 101 meter rotor due to specific site conditions.
The project was put out to tender by Wind aan de Stroom, a partnership between Gemeentelijk Havenbedrijf Antwerpen, Maatschappij Linkerscheldeoever and GEHA.
The wind power plant will be integrated in a smart grid, which is currently developed as part of a pilot project with the Belgian DSO Eandis. The energy production of the turbines will therefore be controlled through the smart grid. Eandis will research new technologies, which will allow the connection of more renewable energy for a more affordable price and in shorter time spans.
Wind power and energy service are part of Siemens’ Environmental Portfolio. Around 43% of its total revenue originates from green products and solutions.
Belgium’s wind power plans
Belgium has just over 1GW of wind capacity as of 2011, which accounts for about 2.9 percent of its electricity consumption, according to a European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) report. Belgium hopes to eventually establish 2,300 MW of wind capacity from its North Sea wind farms alone, which can help replace one of its two 3,000-MW nuclear plants.
As part of its plans to rely less on nuclear energy by 2025, Belgium is planning to construct an island for the sole purpose of storing its vast amounts wind energy. As of 2011, nuclear power accounts for over 50% of Belgium’s energy production.
The three-kilometer island, which is shaped like a horseshoe with a large, deep reservoir located in the center, is to be located three to four kilometers off the coast near the province of West Flanders. When the wind is at its strongest, mostly at night, water will be pumped out of the reservoir through turbines and into the sea. When energy demand is high, the water will be let back into the reservoir through the same turbines.
The project is expected to take anywhere between five to seven years to complete. The project’s success is highly dependent on the utility’s ability to strengthen the grid transmission system leading inland from the coast.