Storm shuts down all wind turbines in sea for first time

Storm shuts down all wind turbines in sea for first time
Wind turbines off the Belgian coast. Credit: Belga

For the first time since they were placed there, all wind turbines at sea will be shut down as a result of storm Eunice, which is now officially a Belgian storm.

The North Sea storm has already resulted in schools closing their doors early, trains, planes and ships being disrupted, and has now also caused all wind turbines at sea to be taken out of action. This was confirmed to Belga news agency by the Belgian Offshore Platform (BOP), the association that represents the owners of wind farms in the North Sea.

"This is the first time since 2009 when the first wind turbines were installed at sea, that this has happened. In a storm, there is always some production, but today, for the first time, they are all at a standstill," Annemie Vermeylen, BOP's secretary-general, said.

However, according to Vermeylen, all the turbines, even the oldest ones, are storm-proof, meaning the heavy gusts of wind shouldn't cause any damage.

The blades of the wind turbines will be blocked, which will result in the turbines automatically shutting down. This means they will stop producing electricity for one hour, between 15:30 and 16:30 on Friday afternoon, when the storm is expected to be at its worst.

By 17:00, they are expected to be running at 50% capacity again, and by later this evening, they will be running at full capacity (2.2 GW) again.

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Earlier on Friday, the Needles on the Isle of Wight in England recorded gusts of wind of 122 miles per hour earlier in the morning — almost 200 km/h, which is provisionally the highest gust ever recorded in the country.

Disruption on roads

On Friday afternoon, gusts of more than 122 km/h were recorded at Oostende airport in West Flanders. The first reports of disruption on public roads have also come in.

The Flemish Traffic Centre reported that storm Eunice is making itself felt in Sint-Denijs-Westrem, East Flanders, where several trees are blocking the right and middle lane.

Trees have also called on the A19 from Ypres to Courtrai, completely blocking the motorway. On the E313 from Antwerp to Hasselt, another tree blocked the road, resulting in a 20-minute traffic jam.

The latest traffic disruptions can be tracked here.

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