A project rendition of one of the construction phases of the energy island, Source: Elia

Belgium grants permit for world’s first energy island

Belgium grants permit for world’s first energy island

Construction is set to begin in March 2024

Belgium will soon have an island called Princess Elisabeth. The man-made structure in the North Sea will, in reality, be the world’s first energy hub located in the sea.

The country’s government granted the environmental permit for the grand-scale project on Tuesday and construction is set to begin March next year. The plan is to have it completed in August 2026.

In fact, the consortium of companies behind the project, DEME and Jan De Nul, has already begun work on the manufacturing of the concrete foundations (caissons) that will support the hub.

Each caisson is approximately 60 metres long, 30 metres wide and 30 metres high and will be towed to the location of the island in the summers of 2024 and 2025.

Final design to be presented soon

Princess Elisabeth island, named after the heir to Belgium’s throne, will represent “an essential link in our future energy supply” according to Vincent Van Quickenborne, Minister for the North Sea.

It will be located 45 kilometres off the country’s coast in the so-called Princess Elisabeth zone, an area of the sea which will be “planted” with wind turbines. The hub will thus serve as a collector of the energy produced by these facilities and in essence will serve as an offshore extension of the national grid.

What’s more, the hub will have the operational capacity to host future interconnectors from other countries that have wind farms in the North Sea, such as Denmark and the United Kingdom.

Although that represents a big step ahead for the provision of renewable energy in that part of Europe, there are concerns regarding the marine environment and the impact that the construction project may have on it.

The Belgian government has indicated that it will take into account this fact to protect marine life “both above and below water”. Grid operator Elia, which will be in charge of operating the island, has said the design will be “nature-inclusive” and it will be revealed at the end of the year.



Growing City


Smart City


Green City


Social City


New European Bauhaus




ECP 2021 Winner TheMayorEU