Belgian Ministers in Vlissingen North Sea Port to See Caissons for Princess Elisabeth Energy Island – Heavy Lift News
26 Apr 2024

Belgian Ministers in Vlissingen North Sea Port to See Caissons for Princess Elisabeth Energy Island

The concrete building blocks for the Belgian Princess Elisabeth Energy Island are being built in Vlissingen North Sea Port. The first of the 23 caissons is as good as ready. A great reason for a high-ranking Belgian visit to this world premiere.

The Belgian Prime Minister, Alexander De Croo, Energy Minister, Tinne Van der Straeten and Thomas Dermine, Secretary of State for Economic Recovery and Strategic Investment, visited the caisson yard of the Princess Elisabeth Energy Island in Vlissingen North Sea Port, on Wednesday, April 23.

The Belgian consortium of DEME and Jan De Nul (TM EDISON) is building the foundations of the Belgian energy island on behalf of the Belgian grid operator Elia Transmission. This artificial island is a world first and will be located 45km off the Belgian coast. It will be the first building block of a unified European high-voltage offshore grid and is fundamental for a successful energy transition in Belgium.

 

 

The caissons are large concrete building blocks that form the outer walls of the future energy island. The first of 23 caissons is almost ready and will be sunk in the North Sea in the summer.

The yard in Vlissingen started in September 2023. About 300 people work there every day. The scale of the project will only really become visible with the construction of the first caisson. Each concrete building block is:

  • 57m long,
  • 30m wide
  • 30m high
  • and weighs 22,000t.

It takes three months to build one caisson.

 

 

When the caissons are ready, a semi-submersible ship will transport them further into our port, where they are launched and temporarily stored. This summer – if the weather is good – they will be moved to their final location in the North Sea.

The caissons become the outer walls of the energy island. The island itself is reclaimed with approximately 2.3 million m³ of sand, which is extracted locally. The island will be ready at the end of 2026 and the installation of the electrical equipment can start.

 

 

 

Princess Elisabeth Island will be the first artificial energy island in the world that combines both direct current (HVDC) and alternating current (HVAC). The high-voltage infrastructure on the island will bundle the electricity cables of the wind farms in the Princess Elisabeth zone. The island will also become a hub for future interconnectors. It not only ensures power exchange between countries, but it will also be connected to new offshore wind farms in the northern part of the North Sea, which will eventually supply Belgium with large volumes of green energy.The energy island can count on resources from the European Covid recovery fund. A subsidy of approximately 100 million euros has been awarded in consultation with the Belgian government. Both Belgian and European support has also been promised for the realization of a series of nature measures. In consultation with experts in nature conservation and the marine environment, a ‘nature inclusive design’ has been developed that will strengthen biodiversity on and around the island.

 

 

The energy island can count on resources from the European Covid recovery fund. A subsidy of approximately €100 million has been awarded in consultation with the Belgian government. Both Belgian and European support has also been promised for the realization of a series of nature measures. In consultation with experts in nature conservation and the marine environment, a ‘nature inclusive design’ has been developed that will strengthen biodiversity on and around the island.

 

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