Team picked to build substations on Belgium’s €2bn energy island

HSM Offshore Energy’s rendering of the future island
Belgian grid operator Elia has awarded the contract to design and build four substations on the world’s first “energy island” in the North Sea.

The planned Princess Elisabeth Island, which has an estimated cost of €2bn, will be a platform with a surface area of 12ha located 45km off the Belgian coast.

On it will be the substations needed to convert the electricity generated by large wind farms planned in Belgium’s offshore “Princess Elisabeth zone” into the high-voltage alternating current (HVAC) required for Belgium’s grid.

Winning the substations contract is a consortium made up of Belgian consulting engineer Smulders and two Dutch consultants, HSM Offshore Energy and Iv.

They’ll build four substations on the island, two each with a capacity of 1,050MW, and two each with a capacity of 700MW.

Together, these structures will take up an area of around 6ha on the island.

The engineering design will be carried out Iv’s offices in Papendrecht, in the Netherlands, prefabrication will be handled by Smulders at its Belgian yards and HSM at its Schiedam complex north of Rotterdam.

The final assembly of the modules will take place at the HSM yard in Schiedam and at the Smulders yard in Vlissingen.

Construction will begin in May and installation will commence in 2027. Elia aims to have the installations ready for operation in 2030.

The island itself will be designed and constructed by TM Edison, a joint venture between Jan De Nul and fellow Belgian company Deme, which specialises in land reclamation. Elia selected that team in February 2023.

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