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Region's Largest Windfarm Powers Terminal and Shore Power in Zeebrugge

largest windpark power's ro-ro terminal and shore power
ICO Windpark at he Port of Zeebrugge (courtesy of Port of Zeebrugge)

Published Mar 15, 2021 4:12 PM by The Maritime Executive

Located in the Port of Zeebrugge, Belgium, the largest onshore wind farm in the Flanders region commenced operations. After 18 months of preparation and work, the facility, which consists of 11 wind turbines, is becoming an important source of clean power and will contribute to the port’s sustainability initiatives, including potentially supply shore power for ships in port.

A cooperation between the energy utility ENGIE, the Port of Zeebrugge, and International Car Operators (ICO), a hub for roll-on/roll-off cargo, the field provides a total of 110 GWh of renewable energy per year, which corresponds to the consumption of about thirty thousand families, and will keep about fifty thousand tons of CO? out of the air annually. 

"Port of Zeebrugge is actively working on the development of a Clean Port. In the context of sustainability and energy transition, we are ambitious for future projects,” said Tom Hautekiet, CEO of Port of Zeebrugge. “The size of ICO Windpark is, therefore, an important element in making operations in and around the port more sustainable."

Among the ways the facility is contributing to the port’s environment, 44 MW of renewable energy is being supplied directly to the ICO terminal. It is being used for 308 electric charging points that were also installed by ENGIE in 2019. The electric charging island, with a total capacity of 3.4 MW, can charge more than twenty thousand electric vehicles per week with green electricity. For this purpose, a smart charging software, developed by research center ENGIE Laborelec, is used. This software communicates with the charging points and ensures that they load as efficiently as possible. Moreover, the charging points are in tune with the electricity production of the wind turbines and the supply to the electricity grid.

At the ICO terminal, there is also space for storage batteries that can store part of the local renewable energy capacity and thus account for the intermittent nature of the wind turbines. ENGIE is currently analyzing the possible solutions for this.

"ICO does not only want to be the largest roll-on, roll-off terminal in the world but also the greenest terminal through initiatives such as the use of wind turbines, solar panels at the Vehicle Processing Centers, water recovery systems for the car wash (washing 500 cars with only 20 liters of rainwater), heat pumps for heating buildings, LED terminal lighting, EV shuttle cars and later shore power for ships," says Svein Steimler, Chairman ICO and ICO Windpark.

In the future, the 11 wind turbines will also be able to create shore power permitting cold ironing for the ships docked in the Port of Zeebrugge. The project has the opportunity to become the first renewable application of wind power to provide ships power in port and in doing so strengthens Zeebrugge's position as a Clean Port and energy transition hub in Europe.

The partners are also currently exploring additional sustainable initiatives in the Port of Zeebrugge. The project is part of ENGIE’s goal to increase its onshore wind energy capacity to 1000 MW by 2030 in Belgium.