The European Investment Bank (EIB) is to support construction of the Norther wind farm off the Belgian coast with a loan of €438 million. Half of this amount will be guaranteed under the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the heart of the Juncker Commission’s Investment Plan for Europe.
Norther is the third wind project off the Belgian coast to be supported under the EFSI. Upon completion, its 44×8 MW wind turbines will deliver 352 MW, and cut about 593 000 tons CO2-equivalent of GHG emissions per year.
Construction is set to begin in the spring of next year and is expected to be operational in summer 2019. The total cost is estimated to be €1.1 billion, of which the EIB would provide nearly 40%.
EIB vice-president Pim van Ballekom commented: “In the last 5 years the EIB has invested over €880 million in wind energy projects in Belgium to ensure a safe, affordable and diversified supply for a large portion of the Belgian population. Thanks to the backing under EFSI, the bank can take on more of these projects, which create jobs while helping to support the energy switch.”
Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic, responsible for Energy Union, said: "Today's agreement demonstrates how the EFSI can act to boost investment while also helping to ensure that Europe has secure, affordable and climate-friendly energy sources. I believe that the Investment Plan will continue to make a substantial contribution towards Europe's transition to a becoming a secure, competitive and low-carbon economy in the years ahead."