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Jan De Nul and DEME to build world’s first artificial energy island

Princess Elisabeth Island will be built by the Belgian consortium TM EDISON, consisting of Jan De Nul and DEME. It will be a connection hub with the British and Danish electricity network to generate 300 GW of offshore electricity by 2050 in Europe.

Image: EliaImage: Elia

The construction of the foundations of Princess Elisabeth Island will begin in early 2024 and will last 2.5 years 45 km off the Belgian coast. After that, the installation of the high-voltage infrastructure can be started. The latter will be necessary for bringing the electricity from Belgium’s future offshore wind zone to shore. The island will serve as a hub for future interconnectors with the UK (Nautilus) and Denmark (TritonLink).

The island will also be the first building block of an integrated European offshore electricity grid that will connect various hubs and countries to give access to the massive amounts of renewable energy that are needed to make the industry less dependent on fossil fuels in the short term. Princess Elisabeth Island will be the world’s first artificial energy island that combines both direct current (HVDC) and alternating current (HVAC).

Julie De Nul, director at Jan De Nul Group: “As a company, we are proud to put our weight behind this project through which we, as a Belgian consortium, can support our country to achieve its climate objectives. Belgium is a front-runner in the field of offshore wind energy. We are making this clear once again by constructing this energy island. The combined experience of Jan De Nul and DEME as offshore specialists in dredging, rock armour and offshore energy is an absolute added value.”

The island will be constructed from concrete caissons filled with sand. A small harbour and helicopter platform will also be provided in order to allow maintenance crews to visit the island.

Now that the construction contract has been awarded, the design of the island can be finalised. The construction of the island will start in early 2024 and will continue until August 2026. The caissons will be built and installed in 2024 and 2025. These will form the contours of the island. After that, the base of the island will be raised and prepared for the construction of the electrical infrastructure. It will be connected with the new offshore wind farms and with the Elia onshore grid. In order to deliver the additional electricity to consumers, it is crucial that the Ventilus and Boucle du Hainaut grid reinforcement projects are realised at the same time. Elia aims to ensure all wind farms are fully connected to the mainland by 2030.

Chris Peeters, CEO at Elia Group, Belgium's TSO: “This project is a pioneering one for several reasons. It is the most cost-effective and reliable way to bring offshore wind to shore. It will be an island that provides options for the future. When we connect it to other countries, the Princess Elisabeth Island will become the first offshore energy hub. After our construction of the first hybrid interconnector in the Baltic Sea, the island is another world first. It solidifies Elia Group’s position as a company that is at the cutting edge of technology, which is necessary for the energy transition.”

Windfair Editors
Jan De Nul, DEME; Belgium, offshore, hub, interconnector, UK, Denmark, energy island, artificial island, construction, wind farm

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