Princess Elisabeth Island

Princess Elisabeth Island is the world's first energy island. It is an electricity hub that bundles both the cables of the second offshore wind zone (Princess Elisabeth Zone) and those of future interconnectors with other European countries. The energy island has also been designed to be nature inclusive so as to foster biodiversity in the surrounding area. 

Development of an electricity grid at sea

Princess Elisabeth Island will be the world's first artificial energy island to combine both direct current (HVDC) and alternating current (HVAC).

Located some 45 km off the coast and covering 6 hectares, right in the middle of the Princess Elisabeth Zone, Princess Elisabeth Island will be built on concrete caissons filled with sand. The island will house almost exclusively transmission infrastructure. There will also be a small harbour for maintenance crews and a helideck. Some 300 km of AC cables and 60 km of DC cables (HVDC) will be installed around the island to connect all future offshore facilities to the Belgian high-voltage grid.

As the offshore wind sector expands, countries are exploring increasingly sophisticated methods of connecting wind farms to the mainland. Whereas previously only radial (from A to B) connections were used, more complex approaches are now being adopted. Hybrid interconnectors connect two countries together and also to an offshore wind farm, and energy islands serve as centralising energy hubs. Europe is striving to establish meshed offshore networks in all seas, with both interconnectors and energy islands playing a key role. As the world's first energy island, Princess Elisabeth Island fully dovetails with this new strategy.

  • Schedule
      • 2022-2023: tender procedure for the energy island, development of the environmental impact assessment and permit procedure, and lodging of applications for the domain concession for the energy island.
      • 2024 to mid-2026: construction of the energy island, onshore (construction of the caissons at Vlissingen) as well as offshore (e.g. levelling of terrain, installation of the caissons offshore). 
      • 2026-2030: construction of electrical infrastructure on the energy island.

      The development of wind farms is in line with the competitive procedure established by the government. You can consult the schedule here. The connection of wind farms to the Elia grid is linked to the commissioning of the Ventilus and Boucle du Hainaut onshore grid upgrade projects. Elia aims to provide full connection capacity by 2030.

  • texteIn 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 kmĀ² 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.

  • environnementEnvironment

    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. 

    You can find more information about Nature Inclusive Design here

  • texteOffshore infrastructures
  • texteA 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.

  • docDocuments


23 April 2024

Government delegation highlights Belgium's pioneering role and expertise in offshore wind during visit to impressive caisson construction site for Princess Elisabeth Island

Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, Energy Minister Tinne Van der Straeten and State Secretary for Economic Recovery and Strategic Investments Thomas Dermine have visited the site in Vlissingen where caissons are being constructed for Princess Elisabeth Island.

13 November 2023

Elia takes seven tangible measures to enhance biodiversity around the Princess Elisabeth Island

System operator Elia wants to boost biodiversity around the future energy island in the North Sea.

03 October 2023

Environmental permit awarded for Princess Elisabeth Island, a key link in our future energy supply

Construction of the Belgian energy island will start early next year. North Sea Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne has approved the relevant environmental permit.

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