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Belgium files complaint against France over Dunkirk offshore wind farm

Transitions & Energies|April 27, 2022
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But the most spectacular setback today comes from Dunkirk. Belgium announced on April 26 that it had decided to lodge a complaint with the European Commission against the wind farm project located at the limit of its territorial waters. The country criticizes France for not paying the slightest attention to its arguments on the problems posed by the location of the park. In June 2019, the EDF renewable consortium, Innogy and Enbridge, won a call for tenders for the construction and operation of a park of approximately 50 km2 located about ten kilometers from the coast bordering Belgian territorial waters. Several groups and associations, including the League for the Protection of Birds and "Vent Debout" oppose the project.


Belgium has decided to lodge a complaint against France. Brussels criticizes Paris for not wanting to hear about its fears concerning air and maritime safety because of the location considered problematic of the marine wind farm which should see the light of day off Dunkirk, at the limit of Belgian territorial waters.

It cannot be said that French offshore wind farm projects have accumulated successes.Not only is France lagging far behind its European neighbors in this area, but many projects come up against strong local opposition when they are not also technically poorly designed. Thus, Ailes marines, a subsidiary of the Spanish group Iberdrola which is leading the controversial project in the bay of Saint-Brieuc (Côtes-d'Armor), has accumulated technical failures for lack of having sufficiently studied the seabed where it wants to install its platforms. Not to mention the shameless lies announcing, for example, that the 62 giant wind turbines would produce the equivalent of the consumption of 835,000 inhabitants out of the ... more [truncated due to possible copyright]

     

Belgium has decided to lodge a complaint against France. Brussels criticizes Paris for not wanting to hear about its fears concerning air and maritime safety because of the location considered problematic of the marine wind farm which should see the light of day off Dunkirk, at the limit of Belgian territorial waters.

It cannot be said that French offshore wind farm projects have accumulated successes.Not only is France lagging far behind its European neighbors in this area, but many projects come up against strong local opposition when they are not also technically poorly designed. Thus, Ailes marines, a subsidiary of the Spanish group Iberdrola which is leading the controversial project in the bay of Saint-Brieuc (Côtes-d'Armor), has accumulated technical failures for lack of having sufficiently studied the seabed where it wants to install its platforms. Not to mention the shameless lies announcing, for example, that the 62 giant wind turbines would produce the equivalent of the consumption of 835,000 inhabitants out of the 3.34 million in Brittany. There is just one oversight: the intermittency of said wind turbines.

Local opposition and Belgian government opposition

But the most spectacular setback today comes from Dunkirk. Belgium announced on April 26 that it had decided to lodge a complaint with the European Commission against the wind farm project located at the limit of its territorial waters. The country criticizes France for not paying the slightest attention to its arguments on the problems posed by the location of the park.

In June 2019, the EDF renewable consortium, Innogy and Enbridge, won a call for tenders for the construction and operation of a park of approximately 50 km2 located about ten kilometers from the coast bordering Belgian territorial waters. It should consist of 46 wind turbines, 225 to 300 meters high, for 600 MW of capacity. Its commissioning is scheduled for 2027 and its operation should last 30 years.

Several groups and associations, including the League for the Protection of Birds and "Vent Debout" oppose the project. La France Insoumise, le Modem, le Mouvement des Citoyens, le Nouveau centre, les Républicains, l'Union des Centristes et des Ecologistes have been calling for months, in vain, for the organization of a referendum on the project, considering that the energy transition cannot be made “ against ” citizens. The Minister of Ecological Transition Barbara Pompili did not want to hear anything . No more local opposition than the demands of the Belgian government.

If the latter is opposed to the construction, it is because according to him the land is located  "in the airspace controlled by Belgium" . The presence of wind turbines of such size is considered  "worrying"  for the safety of traffic to and from the Koksijde military base. Similarly, Belgium is concerned about a possible “ blockage of historic maritime routes between the United Kingdom and the port of Ostend” . Finally, the project would risk complicating  "possible rescue operations"  in this area.

Forced passage

The Belgian ministry had proposed in June 2021 to move the park 5 km further offshore, which  “could solve almost all the objections raised by Belgium” . Faced with the French refusal, the Belgian State, the region of Flanders and the municipality of La Panne each filed a request before the administrative court of Lille to obtain the cancellation of the project.

A mediation operation was subsequently carried out by the European Commission, but it yielded nothing, indicated Belgian Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne. “During this process, we found that there was not enough will on the French side to take into account the rights of the inhabitants of the Belgian coast, the port of Ostend and other stakeholders.” He added that the complaint  “is necessary to safeguard our rights (…) It is a pity that France does not want to respond to the outstretched hand from the Belgian side” .

Once seized, the Commission must issue a reasoned opinion within three months after hearing the arguments of the two Member States. If necessary, it may also seize the European Court of Justice. The Dunkirk marine wind farm does not seem ready to start producing electricit.

And yet, without  offshore wind , the government will never achieve its self-set targets for renewable electricity generation. " Offshore wind  power is vital " in a " logic of decarbonization ", a " very competitive energy ", " essential to achieve the objective of 40% renewable energy in our electricity mix by 2030 ", has continued to say Barbara Pompili. Words that are sometimes quite far from reality. Since this " very competitive " energy costs more than 150 euros per megawatt hour.

Content truncated due to possible copyright. Use source link for full article.


Source:https://www.transitionsenergi…

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