Belgium – Elia Group, a leading grid operator, and the Port of Ostend have signed a concession agreement to build a service centre for Elia’s offshore activities.
The agreement marks the first step in the construction of a multi-purpose building at the heart of the Port of Ostend, positioning it as a hub for offshore high-voltage infrastructure expertise. The partnership between Elia Group and the Port of Ostend is significant in promoting the energy transition and supporting the growth of the offshore wind sector.
The Port of Ostend, known as the birthplace of offshore wind energy in Europe, is an ideal location for the service centre. The facility will contribute to the development of sustainable jobs in the region and strengthen the Port’s position in the offshore wind sector. The service centre will serve as a base for Elia’s offshore operations, providing support for the construction, maintenance, and operational management of offshore energy infrastructure.
Additional investments in the grid are crucial to meet the rising demand for renewable energy sources and the electrification of energy-intensive industries. The European Commission, along with energy ministers and government heads from nine European countries, has emphasized the importance of the North Sea as a power plant of the future. Belgium, with its current offshore wind capacity of 2.3 GW, aims to reach 6 GW by 2030 through the development of a second offshore wind zone, the Princess Elisabeth zone, and the construction of new subsea interconnectors.
The new service centre will be a sustainable and multi-purpose building designed to international standards. It will feature a 500 m² multifunctional space serving as a centre of expertise and hosting visitors. The site will also include a control room for monitoring offshore activities and a warehouse for storing construction equipment and spare parts. Around 30 people, predominantly technicians responsible for offshore inspection and maintenance work, will work at the offices on-site.
The project aims to create a purely administrative and operational site, without the construction of pylons or high-voltage installations. The building is scheduled for commissioning by the end of 2025.
This partnership between Elia and the Port of Ostend demonstrates the commitment to expanding offshore wind infrastructure and expertise, supporting the energy transition and the growth of the blue economy. The service centre will play a crucial role in facilitating the ongoing development and maintenance of offshore energy projects, contributing to a more sustainable and resilient energy system.