The European Investment Bank (EIB) has agreed to provide €100m as a loan for a period of seven years to Elia, a Belgian operator of high voltage grid.

The loan will be mainly used for financing the Stevin project that will bring the offshore wind energy to the Belgian electricity network. The project also includes integration of the future energy-exchange between the UK Nemo project and the country’s grid.           

The two projects are expected to support the reliability of Belgian electricity system by integrating large quantities of renewable energy.

The Stevin project will integrate offshore wind energy through a double 380 kV line of 47km length between Zeebrugge and Zomergem to distribute electricity across the Belgian electricity network.

With the project’s construction in the final stage, it is schedule to enter service by the end of 2017.

The Nemo-link, built in collaboration with National Grid, the British transmission operator, will connect to the Stevin route and will be the first interconnector between the UK and Belgium.  

 EIB Belgium vice president Pim van Ballekom said: “Since 2009, the EIB has invested more than two billion euros in renewable energy in Belgium, for example in the recently completed Nobelwind wind park near Oostende.

“It is important that this energy is transmitted as efficiently as possible to the national network and that is what this loan is all about.”

Elia CFO Catherine Vandenborre said: “The energy transition means that more and more thermal power-plants that emit CO2 are replaced by wind and solar energy. We consequently need more transport capacity to bring renewable energy to the consumer.

“Stevin will as well enable the interconnection with the UK, which gives Belgium an even more central role in the European energy system.”