Energy supplies from offshore windfarms reached a new record high in 2019, producing enough energy for 1.34 million households and making Belgium one of the leading countries for wind energy production.
The energy output of the wind farms in the North Sea increased from 3,408 gigawatt-hours (GWh) to 4,700 GWh, in what would be a jump of nearly 38% from production levels in 2018, Het Nieuwsblad reports.
The new figures come after the launch of the sixth wind farm last year and, according to a representative of a wind farm owners association, the Belgian Offshore Platform (BOP), the figures could have been even higher.
Annemie Vermeylen of the BOP said 2018 was not a good year for wind and that the increase of energy production by the wind farms could have been even greater than the numbers registered.
Vermeylen said, however, that wind energy has become an increasingly central source of power supply in Belgium, with the six wind farms in operation delivering between 5 to 6% of the country’s total energy production.
Wind energy also continues to increase its presence in the Belgian green energy market, accounting for 31% of the total green energy output by the end of 2019, up from 25% the previous year, De Standaard reports.
Plans for two additional wind farms this year are set to bring up energy production capacity by 706 megawatts, with Vermeylen saying that the addition will mean wind energy will account for around 10% of Belgium’s total energy output by the end of 2020.
Belgium closed the year 2019 as one of the biggest countries in the wind energy market, with BOP ranking it fifth worldwide in terms of installed capacity and third in terms of capacity per inhabitant.
Innovations and adaptations in terms of manufacturing and shipping are one of the reasons behind the growth of the wind energy market in Belgium, Vermeylen said, noting reduced manufacturing times for farms and the use of larger and specialised ships.