The summary in this section was provided by Mathias Damen & Julien De Rouck, Ghent University
Even with a small coastline and sea territory, the developments in Belgium prove to be interesting. A first research device is about to be deployed, first targets are set for the construction of a wave energy park in the Belgian part of the North Sea and a Belgian company is involved in the project development of a first big scale tidal energy parks.
Ocean Energy Policy
Strategy and National Targets
Belgium has to increase its share on renewable in the gross final energy consumption to 13% by 2020. According to Eurostat, this share has been increasing steadily up to 6.8% in 2010. The burden sharing between the Federal and regional states is still a point of discussion. On the Federal level, a strong increase is observed in 2011/2012 and will continue in the next years, mainly due to the developments of offshore wind (target set at 2 GW, currently 379.5 MW installed offshore). No specific targets have yet been set for wave or tidal current energy.
Support Initiatives and Market Stimulation Incentives
Belgium has implemented the system of Tradable Green Certificates (TGC) to support energy production from renewables. The Regional Government of Flanders has approved a TGC for wave and tidal current energy of €90/MWh, guaranteed for 10 years, but it is to date unclear if this TGC could be applied since the sea area from the low water mark is under Federal, and not regional, jurisdiction. On the other hand, the Federal Government has approved a TGC for ‘hydroenergy’ for €50/MWh (10 years) but to date it is unclear if ‘hydroenergy’ also encompasses wave or tidal current energy, since hydroenergy is not defined as such in the Federal law. If wave and tidal current energy were excluded from ‘hydroenergy’, support would have to fall back on the lowest TGC available, which is €20/MWh. hence, there is significant uncertainty about the exact level of support.
The Federal Department of Economy started up an evaluation in conjunction with the stakeholders to adapt this support system and to provide clarity and certainty about the exact support tariff. Meanwhile, the Flemish Government is thinking of an appropriate way of supporting ocean energy in the Belgian part of the North Sea.
Main Public Funding Mechanisms
The Flemish Agency for Innovation by Science and Technology (www.iwt.be) has co-funded the FlanSea project for €2.4 million (with €1.3 million funded by the private partners) over a period of time of 3 years.
Relevant Legislation and Regulation
The Belgian maritime spatial plan foresees an area for the ‘exploitation for offshore wind, wave and tidal energy’. This area has been divided into 7 zones for which the Government gave concessions for alternative energy project development. The last concession was granted in July to the temporary trading company Mermaid, which plans on installing a combined wind and wave energy park. These plans will lead to more clarity on the TGC details for ocean energy in the coming years.
The governmental agreement of the 7 December 2011 expresses the intention to determine a new area in the Belgian part of the North Sea for offshore energy development, which can raise interesting opportunities for the development of wave and tidal energy in Belgium.
Relevant documents released
The BOREAS final report that describes the assessment of the wave and tidal energy potential is available online (www.belspo.be).
Research & Development
Government Funded R&D
The FlanSea project, which aims at designing and developing a wave energy converter for the low wave energy in the Belgian part of the North Sea and the moderate wave climates further in the North Sea, will reach the deployment phase in 2013. The project partners are DEME Blue Energy, Cloostermans, Harbour of Ostend, Electrawinds, Spiromatic, Contec and 4 research groups from Ghent University.
FlanSea (Flanders Electricity From the Sea) point absorber technology www.flansea.eu
Laminaria has developed a multidirectional surge device for which they got some support from the IWT (Flemish Agency for Innovation by Science and Technology). Tank testing has been performed and they are patent holders.
Participation in Collaborative International Projects
Ghent University participates in the WECWakes project, funded by Hydralab in order to assess wave energy converter farm interactions in a physical wave flume (€225 thousands).
Mermaid has received the concession for their plans to build a combined wind and wave energy park in the 7th and most northern part of the Domain Concession Zone. The idea is to use synergies of offshore wind and wave energy as a way of overcoming certain obstacles for implementing a wave energy park. A total amount of 20MW of wave energy is projected along with the 450MW of wind energy. The wind energy is to be installed by 2017. The wave Mermaid is a partnership that consists of 65% of OTARY RS and 35% of Electrabel (GDF SUEZ). OTARY is a collaboration of Aspiravi, DEME, Electrawinds, Nuhma, Power@Sea, Rent- A-Port, Socofe and SRIW Environment.
Another interesting development is that the Belgian company DBE (Deme Blue Energy) together with DP Marine Energy has an agreement for lease from the Crown Estate for a 100MW tidal project off the northwest coast of Antrim at Fair Head in Northern Ireland and for a 30MW tidal project 8km off the tip of the Rhinns of Islay in Scotland.