Information published on 28 June 2016 in the UIC electronic newsletter "UIC eNews" Nr 505.

Belgium: Greensky wind farm and ‘sail trains’ win Belgian Energy and Environment Award

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Infrabel and ENGIE Electrabel have received a prestigious award on behalf of Greensky for the wind farm along the Leuven – Liège high-speed rail line. The wind farm won the Public Sustainable Development Award. Since October 2015, 170 trains a day (dubbed ‘sail trains’) run on this line via wind power thanks to the connection of the Greensky wind farm to the Belgian rail network. This unique and sustainable project supports and encourages the use of renewable energy.

Prestigious Public Sustainable Development Award

On the evening of Thursday 2 June – a few days before World Environment Day – the best environmental and energy projects were honoured during the eleventh edition of the Belgian Energy and Environment Awards ceremony. Infrabel and its partner ENGIE Electrabel, Belgium’s largest generator of sustainable energy, jointly received the award in the Sustainable Development in the Public Sector category.

This jury award honours public enterprises and municipalities for their commitment and sustainable contribution to the energy and mobility policy. The award recognises the unique and special implementation of a versatile wind energy project and the outstanding cooperation between the project partners.

In line with the strategic sustainability policy of the various partners in the Greensky project, it underscores the importance of supporting renewable energy projects that help reduce the environmental footprint in accordance with the objectives of the climate conventions. The public sector and Belgium are thus demonstrating their concern for sustainability issues and the well-being of current and future generations.

Greensky wind turbines power trains with renewable

The wind farm in Gingelom along the Leuven – Liège high-speed railway line (HSL2) is connected to the railway installations through the high-voltage substation in Avernas. Following the commissioning of the seven wind turbines on 24 October 2015, two-thirds of the generated renewable energy goes directly to the Belgian rail network. This means that every day around 170 trains – representing nearly 5% of all passenger transport in Belgium – can partially run on wind power over the HSL2 as well as the Leuven – Liège (line 36) and Landen – Sint-Truiden – Hasselt (line 21) conventional railway lines. These wind-power trains have been dubbed ‘sail trains’.

The remaining third of the wind energy is fed into the public power grid and supplies renewable electricity to approximately 10,000 households per year. The seven wind turbines generate roughly 35 GWh of electricity per year, thereby reducing CO2 emissions by 15,000 tonnes. Work on the second phase of the Greensky wind farm will start in the second half of 2016. From early 2017, nine wind turbines distributed between the municipalities of Lincent, Orp-Jauche, Hannut and Hélécine in the Walloon region will provide additional renewable electricity and reduce CO2 emissions by a further 20,000 tonnes per year.

The City of Sint-Truiden is firmly committed to the future. Its participation in the Greensky project is a carefully considered decision, with tangible payback experienced after just one year. The returns will be given back to the citizens of Sint-Truiden in the form of sustainable projects. Sint-Truiden is thus investing today in the quality of life of its residents, their children and their grandchildren.

The wind farm is part of the Greensky project, a partnership between ENGIE Electrabel (50%), the City of Sint-Truiden (23%), the Brussels Intermunicipal Electricity Company (IBE) (17%) and Infrabel (10%).

(Source: Infrabel)