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Participative funding, a breath of fresh air for wind power in Belgium

The public-private partnership Wind4Flanders* inaugurated a new wind farm on the Umicore and Aurubis Belgium sites in Olen, in the Campine region, on October 20, 2016. What makes this installation different? It gives the local population a chance to invest in their own wind farm and contribute to the development of green energy in their region.

The new wind farm installed in Olen, Campine, consists of the four largest wind turbines on an industrial site in Belgium. The facility will generate an estimated 28 million kWh per year, equivalent to the energy consumption of around 8,000 homes.

  • ©
  • © Fabian De Backer
  • © ENGIE Electrabel

The largest wind turbines installed on an industrial site in Belgium have been erected in Olen… to the great satisfaction of local residents. Not only will the inhabitants of Olen, Herentals, Morkhoven, Noorderwijk and Geel have access to “clean” energy, they will be eligible to invest in the new wind farm. With a closing date of October 31, 2016, Electrabel CoGreen, a cooperative company founded by ENGIE Electrabel, has offered them the chance to purchase up to 20 shares with a value of €125 and an expected annual yield of 3.5%.

“These wind turbines are an important step towards a future with more renewable energy. The cooperation between ENGIE Electrabel, Umicore and Aurubis Belgium has been a model for other companies wanting to develop sustainable energy. And I can only applaud the fact that local people can take part in the project,” enthused the Flemish Minister of Energy, Bart Tommelein, speaking at the opening ceremony.

Seventeen wind farms open to participative funding

Since it was founded in March 2013, Electrabel CoGreen has invited local residents to invest in wind farms and so play their part in the collective fight against global warming.

In 2013, 495 people living in proximity to the Poperinge, Frasnes-Lez-Anvaing, Lochristi-Zele, Sint-Gillis-Waas and Zwevegem-Harelbeke wind farms were able to purchase shares in Electrabel CoGreen, worth a total of €925,000.

Last year, people living in the neighborhood of the Wuustwezel, Westerlo, Gingelom, Genk Zuid, Haven Gent Darsen and Haven Gent Belgicastraat wind farms had the opportunity to subscribe shares. The offer was subscribed by 500 people, for a total of €999,000. Information meetings were organized to identify the important issues for each site and to ensure that the company was operating in complete transparency.

* Wind4Flanders is a public-private partnership between ENGIE Electrabel and five funding organizations: FIGGA, FINGEM, FINILEK, IKA and IBE (the Brussels intermunicipal electricity company).

The Olen wind farm
in figures

  • 4 wind turbines
  • 200 meters tall
  • 3,45 MW of power each
  • 14 MW of total power
  • 28 million kWh of annual production
  • 12 768 tonnes of CO2 emissions saved per year
  • 20 million of investment
Installation du parc éolien à Olen - Short timelapse
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