Country Reports


SUPPORTING POLICIES FOR OCEAN ENERGY


NATIONAL STRATEGY
Belgium has to increase its share of renewable energy production to 13% of the total consumption by 2020. This share has been growing steadily in the last year. Main incentives aim at wind energy (onshore and offshore), biomass, biogas and solar energy. The offshore wind energy concessions in the Belgian North Sea will have the biggest impact on renewables, leading up to a total of ± 2200 MW of offshore wind power installed by 2020.


REGULATORY FRAMEWORK
A green energy certificate market is implemented to support 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 and banks. 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.


MARKET INCENTIVES
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 has given concessions for alternative energy project development. The last concession (±55 km from the coast) was granted in July 2012 to the temporary trading company Mermaid. This Mermaid concession zone aims at the installation of 232 to 266 MW wind and 5 to 61 MW wave energy (rated power). This hybrid park has a water depth of 35-40 m and an average wave climate of 6.5 kW/m. The project is planned to be finished by 2020.

 


KEY R&D INSTITUTIONS AND RELEVANT R&D PROJECTS

The Laminaria technology could be classified as a surge operated point absorber. The device consists of a cross shaped buoy tethered to the seabed. The horizontal translation and tilting motion of the hull is transferred through the mooring lines to the PTO. The unique selling point of the technology is its active storm protection system.

Through the use of the storm protection strategy the device can survive any storm with energy production at nominal power. The device achieves this by regulating its exposure to the passing wave energy. In normal operations the device floats in the water with its top near the surface. When wave power exceeds the level necessary to produce nominal power the device submerges.

 
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Laminaria device at the dock (http://www.laminaria.be/)

The device finds the ideal height in the water column where there is still enough motion in the water to produce nominal power but without undergoing the excessive motion near the water surface. This results in a very effective way of regulating energy input into the device. As a result of the storm protection strategy the device can be optimized to produce optimal in smaller more common waves. This not only translates in a lighter, cheaper and more effective device it also translates in a very high capacity factor. In 2015, a fully functional ¼ scale prototype has been tested at the sea testing site at Ostend, Belgium.

The sea trials have shown the storm protection strategy to be very effective. The device was designed to deliver nominal power of 1 kW at 0.5 m waves. Even though it survived stormy conditions with waves up to 2.7 m who have an energy content of 46 times the waves needed to produce nominal power. Due to the storm protection strategy strains and forces on the device and moorings where limited to the level comparable with 0.5 m waves. During the sea trials a wave to mechanical efficiency of up to 81% was achieved.

During the last year, a 1:16 scale model Laminaria’s wave energy converter (WEC) has undergone tank testing at the Coastal, Ocean and Sediment Transport (COAST) laboratory at Plymouth University, as part of the LAMWEC project.

Additionally, in May 2016, first lab testing by TTI of full scale mooring belt looked very promising.

 

 

OPEN SEA TEST SITES
A test facility was implemented at approximately 1 km from the Harbour of Ostend. The test facility has easy access for deployment and maintenance from the Harbour of Ostend. Wave riders register the available wave climate, an antenna and camera onshore ensure the data connection and visualisations. Navigation buoys protect the test zone from unwanted marine traffic. There is no grid connection installed. There is an interest in installing a monopile structure at the test site, as a monitoring hub and foundation basis for several renewable energy projects.

Information is summarised in the following table:
The construction of the Marine Energy Centre, including a new coastal and offshore basin has begun in 2017. The basin will be of significant importance in the development of wave energy devices. Small to medium scale test devices can be deployed in the basin and operated under wave, current and wind action.

 

PLANNED DEPLOYMENTS
Laminaria has raised €2M from new investors, QBIC II and PMV, and existing investor CEIP. The funding will support Laminaria to further develop its wave energy generation technology and initiate a full-scale demonstration project at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney, Scotland (LAMWEC project).

NEMOS, a German wave energy developer, is focussing on the installation of a large-scale prototype in the Belgian North Sea. With a floater displacing more than 10 m³ water and a fully equipped powerhouse on an independent structure, the system will generate enough energy to supply several households with electricity.A test facility was implemented at approximately 1 km from the Harbour of Ostend. The test facility has easy access for deployment and maintenance from the Harbour of Ostend. Wave riders register the available wave climate, an antenna and camera onshore ensure the data connection and visualisations. Navigation buoys protect the test zone from unwanted marine traffic. There is no grid connection installed. There is an interest in installing a monopile structure at the test site, as a monitoring hub and foundation basis for several renewable energy projects.