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Published On: Fri, Jan 6th, 2017

Belgium to Increase Offshore Wind Turbine Subsidies

nsnbc : Belgium will increase its number of offshore wind turbines in the North Sea and will probably increase subsidies over the coming years as wind turbines become increasingly competitive in comparison with the country’s aging nuclear power plants.

belgium_windfarmIn 2016 Belgium subsidized North Sea wind farms with 270 million euro, but the amount is expected to increase gradually over the coming years. Off shore wind farms have become a serious competitor to Belgium’s aging and (f)ailing nuclear power plants.

Belgian offshore wind farms in the North Sea already produce 700 megawatts while the country’s biggest nuclear power plant boast a capacity of 1,000 megawatts. The federal government of Belgium plans to increase the capacity of offshore wind farms to reach 2,200 megawatts by 2020.

Some critics note that the subsidies for wind farms over the past eight years have “exploded”. In 2009, it started off with 6.5 million, to reach 265.9 million in 2015 and 270.6 last years.

Belgium's plagued Tihange NPP

Belgium’s plagued Tihange NPP

Others would stress that there hasn’t ever been a wind farm that has exploded like the nuclear power plants in Tjernobyl or Fukushima. Moreover, nuclear power plants are heavily subsidized too, and the costs for decommissioning and safely storing away the waste from the “too cheap to meter” energy sources will exceed any subsidies that any wind farms could ever need, say others.

Subsidies will keep climbing as more electricity is being generated. An average family is paying 15 euros per year at present, an amount that could climb to an estimated 35 or 40, say wind-farm opponents.

However, there are also environmentalists who warn that more studies are needed to avoid that low and ultra-low frequencies produced by wind turbines disturb marine mammals; first and foremost cetaceans.

Others stress that the original life span of the country’s nuclear power plants that were built in the 70s has already been extended, and that investments in new nuclear power plants could, based on experience in Germany that is fading out its nuclear power plants, can’t be justified.

CH/L – nsnbc 06.01.2016

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