The Art of Dredging

Dredging and shipping

"Energy Island"


Of all the daft reasons why people create islands in the sea (airports, housing, industry, or prestige), this may be one of the better reasons:

Belgian minister Johan Vande Lanotte supports construction of an "energy island" close to Wenduine, a small community on the Belgian coast, during a press conference in Ostend, February 2013.

Minister Vande Lanotte wishes to finalize design by end of 2013, and start construction two years later. Cost involved would be 800 million euro.

Since this island is first of its kind, there are many variables,including costs.


The island would be a watertight basin -a reservoir 50 meters deep- with waterproofed walls. The reservoir would be emptied of water by wind energy, and filled up again by gravity, driving electric generators.

A reverse hydro-electric dam, say.

One of the main problems with wind energy: wind blows not according peak electric demands: this island could serve as a "battery", storing energy for peak periods.

The island could also be coupled to a nuclear power plant, for the same reasons: nuclear power plants run idle at night. With an energy island, energy generated at night, could be stored for use when demand peaks.


In 1981 the plan "Lievense"  was presented, to build an energy island in the Dutch "Markermeer", much on the same principles. This was shelved due to cost and risk.



The Netherlands are studying similar ideas.



Marc Van de Velde

march 2013

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