Storm commissions Belgium’s first subsidy-free wind farm on the grounds of ArcelorMittal Belgium in Ghent

This morning, Flemish Minister Matthias Diependaele opens the first subsidy-free wind farm of Belgium. The three wind turbines of Storm on the premises of ArcelorMittal Belgium in the port of Ghent are the largest in Belgium. ArcelorMittal Belgium in Ghent buys all electricity from the wind turbines at a fixed price for twenty years. The wind farm does thus not rely on the system of green certificates.

Flemish Minister of Finance, Budget, Housing and Immovable Heritage Matthias Diependaele inaugurated the new Storm wind farm on the premises of steel company ArcelorMittal Belgium in the port of Ghent. The wind farm consists of three wind turbines with a rotor diameter of 162m, a tip height of up to 230m and a capacity of 6 MW per turbine. These are the largest wind turbines in Belgium.

ArcelorMittal Belgium buys all electricity from the wind farm for twenty years at a fixed price. Our steel company thus ensures itself of a guaranteed supply of cheap and renewable energy. Storm can therefore realise the wind farm subsidy-free, without having to rely on the system of green certificates.

Wind energy is the cheapest form of electricity production in Belgium. A MWh of electricity from a new wind turbine costs less than a MWh of electricity from, for example, a new gas plant, coal plant, biomass plant or nuclear plant.

“The bigger the wind turbine, the more electricity it generates, and the cheaper that electricity becomes,” says Storm’s managing director Jan Caerts. “A rapid transition to cheap locally produced renewable energy is essential for anchoring heavy industry in our country and thus for our economic prosperity. We are therefore pleased that we can contribute to the energy supply of ArcelorMittal Belgium with this project.”

Manfred Van Vlierberghe, CEO ArcelorMittal Belgium, says, “The new wind turbines on our sites are another milestone in renewable energy for ArcelorMittal Belgium. We will use the green power generated in the production of steel, thus reducing our carbon footprint even further. Moreover, these wind turbines are primarily made of steel, a striking example of the importance of steel in our daily lives and the way steel contributes to sustainable energy.”

“There was a time when we massively subsidized renewable energy to encourage businesses and, by extension everyone in Flanders, to abandon fossil fuels. Meanwhile, green energy is becoming cheaper and cheaper and more and more people and companies contribute to stop climate change. With the inauguration of the first wind farm in Ghent that was built without a single euro of tax money, we are reaching a new milestone. This is proof that wind and solar energy are undeniably part of tomorrow’s CO2-free energy mix,” adds Flemish Energy Minister Zuhal Demir.

“The Ghent canal zone is an area of cooperation where we do not think in tonnages, but in added value and reduction of CO2 emissions. Where sustainability was seen as a risk and a cost not so long ago, today it is a story of opportunity and economic growth. Thanks to the convergence of various industries and knowledge institutions, the Ghent canal zone is ideally suited to take on a pioneering role in this area”, concludes Carina Van Cauter, Governor of the Province of East Flanders.

The construction of the subsidy-free Storm wind farm was recently completed. The wind turbines will supply more than 45,000 MWh of electricity annually to ArcelorMittal Belgium’s production site in Gent. This corresponds to the equivalent annual electricity consumption of 13,000 families. The wind farm avoids emitting 11,225 tonnes of CO2 every year. Construction of the wind farm started in the spring of 2021. 431 local residents and ArcelorMittal employees invested directly in the wind farm via the Storm CV cooperative.