Thornton Bank 2 on line off Belgium

Germany’s RWE Innogy has commissioned the second phase of the Thornton Bank wind farm off the Belgian coast with a capacity of 148MW.

The 24 REpower turbines are now fully operational and connected to the grid, and set to generate about 500,000MWh of electricity a year for RWE’s Dutch unit Essent.

“Construction of Thornton Bank wind farm is on schedule and is matching up to our expectations,” said Hans Bünting, chief executive of RWE Innogy.

“This project shows that when the conditions are right and long-term planning is possible, offshore wind energy can work on an industrial scale.”

RWE Innogy has a 26.7% stake in the Thornton Bank wind farm, which is situated some 30km off the coast of Belgium in waters up to 30-metres deep.

The third phase of Thornton Bank will also have 24 turbines. Six of these were erected in 2012 and are already connected to the grid and producing electricity.

The installation of the remaining 18 is scheduled to begin in March of this year for completion during the summer.

Once fully operational, Thornton Bank will have a total installed capacity of about 325MW.

Thornton Bank is one of the largest project-financed offshore wind farms in Europe, RWE Innogy said.

In all, eight commercial European banks, the European Investment Bank and the German and Danish export credit agencies have provided approximately €900m ($1.22bn) in financing and venture capital. The total investment amounts to about €1.3bn.