A doughnut shape with a crucial central water reservoir; hydro-electric storage of wind energy. Just such a wind farm could be used to produce the near equivalent of one of Belgium's nuclear power stations. As nuclear power provides 57% of the country's energy, alternatives are quickly being sought.
The danger lies in public (and European Parliament) opinion of the two nuclear plants run by France's Electrabel, otherwise known as an offshoot of GDF Suez. They have cracks, or potential cracks, which will certainly be fatal to the plants, if not to any local population.
As nuclear power is now publically-frowned upon, certainly after the Japanese tsunami effect, Belgium is seeking means to emulate its neighbours with their own North Sea wind farms. A relatively small coastline is restrictive, but the island idea would leave more space for further developments as necessary.
In five years, the plan is to build this doughnut from sand, 3km offshore from Wenduine, then store the energy from giant turbines in the height of water held in the central reservoir. Belgium's North Sea Minister announced the plan in Zeebrugge as the first of its kind. The idea has been used for a century in the Scottish Highlands, and contributes to the Scottish achievement of totally-renewable energy provision by 2020. The Scots also have a lot more coastline for wind farms in the islands and their mainland!
Wind Energy Image; Credit: © Shutterstock
About 2,300MW would be produced from this planned development, while Doel and Liege nuclear facilities are capable of 3,000MW. Meanwhile, Elia, the national power grid operator, will be busy "transforming" its lines so the grid could cope with extra voltage. Here's to five year's time, when perhaps at least one other "island of wind" could be built?