Looking for renewable energy
Renewable energy has become an important issue. There are some evident reasons for this:
• no emission of CO2 that helps to achieve the Kyoto objectives in the struggle against climate change
• scarcity of fossil fuels whereby one expects price increases
• fossil fuels make us dependent on politically unstable regions
Wind turbines on sea as a solution
Wind energy is from the technical and economic perspective an interesting alternative to fossil fuel. The planning of offshore wind turbines is therefore the logical consequence; it blows more and harder on the sea than on land. Moreover, there is more space on the sea to build large wind farms.
"Wind turbines" is actually a more appropriate word for "windmills" because, contrary to a mill, there is no grinding in turbines...
Pioneer marine spatial planning
TheMaster plan for the North Sea (2004) indicated a specific zone for renewable energy, in particular for the construction of wind turbines in our North Sea. This was the first time in Europe that human activities were spatially planned on sea.
A few more conditions...
Wind turbines may be built only after the initiator has obtained a concession (permission) and a licence. An environmental impact assessment (EIA) must also be prepared in advance. There may be disturbing effects, for example, during the construction phase (noise pollution for marine mammals while driving piles in the seabed) or during the use of the turbines (nuisance to migratory bird species).
The Federal Government envisages that the offshore wind turbine farm will generate a capacity of 2000 megawatt in the coming decades. The most important players in the Belgian part of the North Sea are: