ESSEN, Germany, Jan. 31 (UPI) -- German energy company RWE said electricity generated from 24 turbines from its Thornton Bank wind farm off the Belgian coast is connected to the grid.
Thornton Bank 2 was fully commissioned in January. RWE said the second phase of the project, which includes 24 turbines, was connected to the grid. That means another 500,000 megawatt hours of electricity from wind for Belgian consumers.
"This project shows that, when the conditions are right and long-term planning is possible, offshore wind energy can work on an industrial scale," said RWE Chief Executive Officer Hans Bunting.
Foundations for Thornton Bank 2 were laid in June 2011. The facility is the largest of its kind in Europe.
The entire Thornton Bank facility would generate about 325 MW of power, enough to meet the yearly electricity demands of around 600,000 Belgian consumers.
The European Union aims to cut 1990 greenhouse gas levels, improve energy efficiency and increase the share of renewable resources all by 20 percent by 2020.
Eight commercial banks are providing around $1.28 billion in funding for the project.