Thornton Bank 2 was fully commissioned in January. RWE said the second phase of the wind power project, which includes 24 wind turbines, was connected to the grid.
That means another 500,000 megawatt hours of electricity from wind for Belgian consumers.
RWE said electricity generated from 24 wind turbines from its Thornton Bank wind farm off the Belgian coast is connected to the grid.
“This wind energy project shows that, when the conditions are right and long-term planning is possible, offshore wind energy can work on an industrial scale,” said RWE Chief Executive Officer Hans Bunting.
Foundations for Thornton Bank 2 were laid in June 2011. The facility is the largest of its kind in Europe.
Thornton Bank 2 offshore wind farm, located off the Belgian coast, was fully commissioned in January. The second phase of the wind farm consisting of 24 new wind turbines with a total output of 148 megawatts (MW) is now fully in operation and connected to the grid. The turbines are set to generate approximately 500,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity a year. This output meets the average annual energy needs of around 140,000 households in Belgium. RWE’s Dutch subsidiary Essent is responsible for the distribution of Thornton Bank 2 electricity.
Dr. Hans Bnting, CEO of RWE Innogy: “Construction of Thornton Bank wind farm is on schedule and is matching up to our expectations. This project shows that – when the conditions are right and long-term planning is possible – offshore wind energy can work on an industrial scale”. Owning a 26.7 percent interest, RWE Innogy is the largest private shareholder in Thornton Bank wind farm.
Central to the production and transmission of electricity generated at sea is the construction of an offshore substation and the installation of the second export cable to reach the coastline. These elements were successfully completed for Thornton Bank wind farm during last year. The electricity generated by the wind turbines reaches the substation at a voltage of 33 kilovolts (kV); there it is converted to a voltage level of 150 kV. The electricity is then transported via two export cables to the coastal in-feed point at Sas-Slijkens in the West Flanders region, where it is fed into the national grid.
Thornton Bank offshore wind farm ( C-Power N.V., Tom D’Haenens)
Thornton Bank wind farm is situated some 30 kilometres off the coast of Belgium in waters up to 30 metres deep. The first phase of the wind farm went into operation in 2009. The six 5 megawatt plants of Thornton Bank 1 produced more than 450,000 MWh up to present. The third and final phase is to feature 24 wind turbines. Six of these were erected in 2012. They are also connected to the grid and are already producing electricity. The installation of the remaining 18 plants is scheduled to begin in March of this year for completion during the summer. Once fully operational, Thornton Bank offshore wind farm will boast an installed output of approximately 325 megawatts (MW), capable of supplying some 600,000 people with electricity a year.
Thornton Bank wind farm is one of the largest project-financed offshore wind farms in Europe. In all, eight commercial European banks, the European Investment Bank and the German and Danish export credit agencies have provided approximately 900 million euros in financing and venture capital. The total investment amounts to approx. 1.3 billion euros.