Novel ‘energy islands’ to be built off the Belgian coast

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Plans to build two so-called “energy islands” off the coast of West Flanders have been approved by the Belgian authorities. The islands will be built in the sea between Zeebrugge and the holiday resort of De Haan.

The islands which should be operational by 2016 will be used both as a means of getting rid of excess energy produced by near-by wind farms and as a way of producing hydroelectricity.

When the grid has surplus electricity water will be pumped out of the atoll. When there is a shortage of energy, the sea water can be allowed to flow back in, creating a kind of waterfall that will generate energy.

Two sites are planned, one off Wenduine and one off Zeebrugge, near to the docks.

The project will be financed through private investment and any companies interested in the scheme will not be able to count on financial support from the state. A decision on who will be allowed to build and operate the “energy island” will be made later this year.