Danish-Japanese offshore wind turbine maker has installed the first of 44 turbines at the 370MW Norther wind farm, slated to become Belgium’s largest once its construction is completed in the third quarter of this year.

“For MHI Vestas, Norther represents several notable milestones. Not only are we celebrating our fourth project in Belgium and the safe installation of the first V164 turbine in Belgian waters, but in a few days we also look forward to installing our 200th V164 globally,” said MHI Vestas chief operating officer Flemming Ougaard.

The manufacturer said the installation of the 44 V164-8.4MW turbines at Norther represents a noteworthy step forward for offshore wind efficiency in Belgium, where 3.3MW turbines have dominated the market before.

Despite its tiny coastline, Belgium is at the forefront of European offshore developments, with 2.2GW in capacity seen in place next year, and 4GW planned by the government by 2030.

Although growing in absolute terms, Europe's share of the global offshore wind market is expected to decline from almost 90% at the end of 2017, to under 60% by 2027, according to a recent estimate by consultancy Wood Mackenzie.

When fully commissioned 23km offshore, Norther will provide clean energy close to 400,000 Belgian households.

Norther is a project of Belgian energy provider Elicio, and a joint venture between Dutch utility Eneco and Mitsubishi Corp. unit Diamond Generating Europe (DGE), that has Van Oord as main contractor.