Publication Memoirs on the marine environment - Annual report 2022 KBIN


The European Directive 2009/28/EC on the promotion of electricity produced from renewable energy sources in the internal electricity market, imposes a target figure for the contribution of the production of electricity from renewable energy sources upon each Member State. On 31 December 2019, Belgium submitted a National Energy and Climate Plan to the European Commission which envisions a target figure of 17.5% for the contribution of the production of electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030. Offshore wind farms in the Belgian part of the North Sea are expected to make an important contribution to achieve that goal.

Within the Belgian part of the North Sea, a zone of 238 km² is reserved for the production of electricity from water, currents or wind. In that zone, eight wind farms are operational with a combined installed capacity of 2.262 MW. A second area for renewable energy of 285 km² is foreseen by the new Belgian marine spatial plan (2020-2026) with the government aiming for an installed capacity of 3,15 to 3,5 GW in this zone.

Prior to installing a wind farm, a developer must obtain a domain concession and an environmental permit. The environmental permit includes a number of terms and conditions intended to minimise and/or mitigate the impact of the project on the marine ecosystem. Furthermore, as required by law, the permit imposes a monitoring programme to assess the effects of the project onto the marine environment.

Within the monitoring programme, the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences and its partners assess the extent of the anticipated impacts onto the marine ecosystem and aim at revealing the processes behind these impacts. The first objective is tackled through basic monitoring, focusing on the a posteriori, resultant impact quantification, while the second monitoring objective is covered by the targeted or process monitoring, focusing on the cause-effect relationships of a priori selected impacts.

This report, targeting marine scientists, marine managers and policy makers, and offshore wind farm developers, presents an overview of the scientific findings of the Belgian offshore wind farm environmental monitoring programme (WinMon.BE), based on data collected up to and including 2021.

Annual report 2022 KBIN

Memoirs on the marine environment