Currently, 10% of the total electricity demand in Belgium, or 50% of the demand of all Belgian households, is produced by offshore wind farms in the Belgian part of the North Sea. After 12 years of construction, this 238 km² area has been fully operational since the end of 2020. A second area of 285 km² is forecast in the new Belgian Maritime Spatial Plan (2020-2026).
Since construction of the wind turbines began in 2008, the WinMon.BE programme - coordinated by the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences - has been monitoring the impact of offshore wind farms on the marine ecosystem. All the data collected allows appropriate measures to be designed. The goal is to mitigate undesirable impacts such as the violent noise pollution that disturbs harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) during the construction of wind farms. And to promote the desired effects such as the increase in the diversity of species that colonise wind turbines and the seabed in wind farms.
Offshore wind farm in the Belgian part of the North Sea