Clean Power Belgium To Build Energy Storage Island

Published on January 17th, 2013 | by Nicholas Brown


Belgium Plans Artificial Island For Wind Energy Storage

January 17th, 2013 by  

Belgium is planning to construct an island in the North Sea for the sole purpose of storing wind energy.

Wind farms, when constructed using traditional mainstream methods, will eventually require backup as their electricity market penetration increases, and when wind turbines generate surplus electricity due to unusually high wind speeds (which can happen pretty often) it goes to waste.

Belgium To Build Energy Storage Island

Image Source: Vestas

“We have a lot of energy from the wind mills and sometimes it just gets lost because there isn’t enough demand for the electricity,” said spokeswoman for Belgium’s North Sea minister Johan Vande Lanotte. “This is a great solution,” the spokeswoman said, adding she thought it could be the first of its kind.

Excess wind power would be used to pump water out of the centre of the island, and it would be allowed to flow back in, but through an electricity generating turbine to augment overall electricity production when there is a shortfall of wind energy.

Vande Lanotte revealed these plans at the Belgian port of Zeebrugge late on Wednesday.

Large-scale wind energy storage has been mostly just a thought for many years, worldwide, but Belgium decided to step up to the plate and put it to the test.

There is an important fact about the electricity market penetration of wind power — in reality, the only real market penetration is done by electricity when it is used. By storing the surplus wind-produced electricity in the North Sea plant, this company can finally sell it, because excess electricity will be ready for when electricity demand increases during peak hours.

Source: Reuters
Follow me on Twitter: @Kompulsa

Check out our new 93-page EV report, based on over 2,000 surveys collected from EV drivers in 49 of 50 US states, 26 European countries, and 9 Canadian provinces.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

About the Author

writes on CleanTechnica, Gas2, Kleef&Co, and Green Building Elements. He has a keen interest in physics-intensive topics such as electricity generation, refrigeration and air conditioning technology, energy storage, and geography. His website is:

  • SpiffySolar

    Make that “atoll” instead of “island.”

  • I first heard of this idea about 4 years ago. Put forward by KEMA, Dutch energy management company.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Someone was talking about it several years ago in one of the Great Lakes.
      But, who had the idea is less important than who puts the idea to work. If this turns out to be a cost effective way to store energy for offshore wind farms it could be huge winner.

      It would mean being able to supply the grid when needed. The need for curtailment would be eliminated. Transmission wire size could be minimized.
      It would be simple to add additional capacity by simply enlarging the containment area.

      It could even be used to store solar for the evening hours, given ample capacity.

  • Dimitar Mirchev



    • Not so insane. The turbine towers are hollow vessels, sometimes hundreds of feet below sea level. The pressures at depth are strong enough to easily drive micro turbines.

    • Bob_Wallace

      They’re basically building a cofferdam, except it will be permanent.

      This is an idea that has been around for a while. I’m glad to see someone giving it a go.

    • Dimitar Mirchev

      Err. I meant “insane” in the positive sense 🙂

      If it turns out successful we’ll see more of these sea-holes in the future.

  • Bob_Wallace

    They aren’t building an island. They’re building a hole in the sea.

Back to Top ↑