Princess Elisabeth Island
The Princess Elisabeth Island is an extension of the electricity grid in the North Sea. It connects wind farms from the sea to the mainland and creates new connections with neighbouring countries.
Development of an electricity grid at sea
The energy island is a world first. This is an electricity hub where cables from both the 2nd offshore wind zone (Princess Elisabeth Zone) and future interconnectors with other European countries such as the United Kingdom and Denmark will arrive.
- 2022-2023: tender procedure for the energy island, development of environmental impact report and permitting procedure and applications for the grant of the domain concession for the energy island.
- 2024 to mid-2026: building the energy island
- 2026-2030: successive construction and commissioning of electrical infrastructure on the energy island.
The development of wind farms follows the competitive procedure developed by the government. You can consult the schedule here. The connection of the wind farms to the Elia grid is linked to the commissioning of the onshore grid reinforcement projects Ventilus and Boucle du Hainaut. Elia aims to provide full connection capacity by 2030.
In the interest of society
The commissioned wind farms (1st concession) have a total capacity of 2.3 GW. In addition to this zone, the 2020-2026 Maritime Spatial Plan indicates three new zones. Together, the zones are 285 km² and were named the Princess Elisabeth Zone. Up to 3.5 GW of wind energy will be produced here.
The Princess Elisabeth Zone will also host the energy island. With this, Elia is taking an important step in developing a European electricity grid at sea and achieving European climate ambitions of having 300 GW of offshore wind energy by 2050.
Sustainability and respect for the marine environment are increasingly prevalent concerns in the design and production methods of various infrastructures at sea.
As part of its application for an environmental permit for the Princess Elisabeth energy island, and in particular in the accompanying environmental impact report, Elia has paid much attention to limiting the effects of its activities on the marine environment, in terms of the alternatives studied for establishing the energy island and the implementation methods. The design of the island (shape, orientation, etc.) contributes greatly to limiting adverse effects.
To go even further, Elia has chosen to lead the way in a truly Nature Inclusive Design for the energy island. Not only will it minimise all harmful effects on the marine environment, Elia also wanted to seize on this opportunity to add true ecological and environmental value to its project
A unique and innovative co-creation process involving an infrastructure manager and different experts from various institutions, universities, design firms and NGOs has taken place in parallel to preparing the permit application. This process has already provided a very promising outlook that is being studied in detail and refined, with regard to its technical feasibility and cost.
More information will be available on this subject soon.
A project that will benefit from the European Recovery Fund
The energy island uses the European Recovery Fund, which is intended to provide the Belgian economy with additional incentives through future-oriented initiatives. Investing in infrastructure is investing in economic growth that strengthens the socio-economic prosperity of our country.
10 February 2023
Submission of permit application and public inquiry
On 9 January 2023, Elia submitted an application for an environmental permit and Natura 2000 permit for the construction and operation of the energy island.
16 December 2022
The energy island benefits from the European recovery fund
On Wednesday 14 December the Federal Government and Elia Transmission Belgium (Elia) have signed an agreement relating to financial support offered up as part of the Recovery & Resilience Facility (RRF). The fund was established by the European Commission in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic to support future-oriented investments being undertaken by Member States.
04 November 2022
Elia presents its plans for an energy island, which will be called the Princess Elisabeth Island – 3/10/22
In the presence of federal ministers Tinne Van der Straeten (Energy) and Vincent Van Quickenborne (North Sea), system operator Elia has presented its draft plans for what will be the world’s first artificial energy island.