Belgium plans to build a horseshoe-shaped artificial island off its North Sea coast to store energy generated by its wind farms. The project will also double as attraction for sea birds (and possibly flocks of tourists).
The ambitious undertaking was unveiled this week by Belgian North Sea Minister Johan Vande Lanotte, as he reported on the implementation of marine special planning.
The island is planned to be built over the course of five years about three to four kilometers off the coast near the village of Wenduine in the province of West Flanders. It will be about three kilometers in diameter, and will have a giant water reservoir occupying most of its territory.
Energy will be stored by pumping seawater out of the reservoir. It is then recovered when needed by guiding the water back in through a hydropower plant at the heel of the 'horseshoe.'