Supporting Policies for Ocean Energy

Belgium’s renewable energy policy is aligned with the EU 2020 targets. Belgium’s land-based and offshore wind energy developments are essential for both the Belgian and European targets for energy development from renewable sources. For 2020, Belgium had a binding national target for renewable energy equal to 13% of the gross final consumption of energy.
By the end 2020, the total land-based installed capacity in Belgium has reached 3,000 MW, and an additional 2,292 MW are planned offshore for a possible total of 5,292 MW of wind power. A green energy certificate market is implemented to support onshore renewable energy production with Tradable Green Certificates (TGC). For each renewable technology, a stakeholder analysis is put forward to determine the level of support. A generic business case is constructed with input of the developer, the technology supplier, investors, banks, etc. This exercise will determine the cost of the renewable electricity and the matching value of the TGC in €/MWh. The business case is frequently updated in order to align the new TGC support with the technology evolution.

To maximize Belgium’s own renewable electricity production, the federal government decided to increase the capacity of offshore wind installations in the second offshore wind zone, the Princess Elisabeth Zone, to a range between 3,15 and 3,5 GW. Together with the existing offshore wind farms, the total offshore wind capacity in Belgium can as such increase to 5,8 GW by 2030, almost tripling the current offshore capacity.  By 2030, around 25% of the Belgian electricity production can come from the Belgian North Sea, saving in total 8,6 million tons of CO2 per year. A first phase of 0,7 GW is to be installed by 2028 and the remaining 2,1 GW is to be taken into service by the end of 2029.
Marine renewable energy is seen as a new emerging industry, highly relevant for Flanders. There are several initiatives promoting the development of the blue economy, including marine energies.

The Flemish Agency for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (VLAIO) has been supporting the ‘Blue Cluster’ aimed at large companies & SMEs active in the blue economy sector, including marine energies. The Blue Cluster, a Flemish spearhead cluster focussed on the sustainable blue economy has, together with its members from industry and academic partners revised its offshore renewable energy R&D roadmap.
The West Flanders Development Agency (POM West Flanders), is supporting developments in the blue energy field, promoting the development of ocean energy technology by the academic sector and private companies. The Fabriek voor de Toekomst Blue Energy of POM West Flanders was established by the province of West Flanders to give businesses in this industry every possibility to grow via innovation. Promotion, research, training and infrastructure. The partnerships aim to create an optimal breeding ground for a future-oriented economy. This is possible thanks to a close collaboration between education, science, industry and local government. One example is the periodic, structural meeting of the “core group” blue energy, organised by POM West Flanders, which brings together the main players in the blue energy field. 

The first wind energy zone in the Belgian North Sea has been fully built within the set timeframe. The last two wind farms in this zone, Northwester II and SeaMade, were built and commissioned in spring and autumn 2020 respectively. With these two new wind farms, 8 wind farms are now operational in the Belgian North Sea, with a total installed capacity of 2,262 MW.
In 2020, Belgian offshore wind farms generated 6.7 TWh of electricity. This represents 8.4% of total electricity consumption in Belgium or the electricity consumption of around 1.9 million families. From 2021 onwards, the 8 wind farms will together produce around 8 TWh of renewable energy annually. This corresponds to the electricity consumption of approximately 2.2 million families, which is almost half of Belgian households, or 10% of the total electricity demand in our country.
Every year, POM West Flanders launches a call for projects called the “Quick Wins”, in which a number of short-term innovation cooperation projects are funded (50%) with the ambition to finalise with a pilot installation, test setup or prototype. 
The Federal Energy Transition Fund in Belgium aims to encourage and support research and development in the field of energy. As part of the Energy Transition Fund, the Directorate-General Energy organizes each year a call for proposals in accordance with article 3, §1, of the Royal Decree of 9 May 2017 laying down the conditions for use of the Energy Transition Fund.
The current call aims to support innovative and research projects within five energy sectors with that of renewable energy in the Belgian exclusive economic zone of the North Sea being one of them.

The Energy Transition Fund aims at research and development in the field of energy. The budget of the Energy Transition Fund for the year 2022 amounts to 25 million euros, which can be awarded as a subsidy to projects that meet all relevant conditions and relate to research and development, investment in research infrastructure, innovation clusters or on innovation by SMEs.
The Blue Cluster has a dedicated budget from Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship to cofund industry driven R&D projects on the subject of offshore renewable energy. The projects have to involve at least 3 Flemish companies and have to respond to the roadmap mentioned above. The annual budget for co-funding R&D projects with the support of the Blue Cluster is 8 million Euro.


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