Electrabel says that it is hoping to construct Belgium’s largest offshore wind farm, further emphasising its ambitions to develop its renewable energy capacity.

Together with Jan De Nul, the Belgian utility has submitted concession requests to the country’s Electricity and Gas Regulatory Commission (CREG) for the construction of two new wind farms in the North Sea. If the concessions are granted, the first wind turbines will be commissioned in 2012.

GDF Suez-owned Electrabel has not disclosed the planned capacity of the projects, which will be built in the North Sea in the Bligh Bank area, but says that the first project – Blue4Power I – will be the largest offshore wind farm in Belgium.

Blue4Power I will be built in the zone north of the Bligh Bank, 60 km from the coast, while the second project – Blue4Power II – will be built 20 km further south between Bligh Bank and Bank zonder Namm. Electrabel told MPS that it hopes to receive approval for the projects within 12 months.

A number of offshore wind power projects are currently under development in Belgium, including Belwind’s 330 MW Bligh Bank wind farm, which is still at the application stage but is scheduled to start operating in 2010. C-Power is developing the 3-phase 300 MW Thornton Bank windfarm, of which phase 1 has started construction with the installation of the first three 5 MW turbines.

In January this year, Electrabel announced plans to construct Belgium’s largest onshore windfarm in conjunction with a consortium of local municipalities. The project is planned to have a capacity of 40-50 MW and to enter operation in 2010.