Newsletter October 2015

Dear reader,

This is the newsletter of green energy producer Aspiravi in Belgium. The purpose of this newsletter is to keep you informed of everything that’s happening at Aspiravi. You will read about new Aspiravi projects, our co-operative business model, our development plans, etc. We wish you pleasant reading!

Best regards, Aspiravi

Bruges Open Business Day attracted nearly 2,200 visitors!

Sunday 4 October saw the national Open Business Day, the main annual event at which companies open their doors to the general public. Aspiravi took part and swung the gates to its building site in Bruges wide open. It proved hugely successful. We welcomed close to 2,200 enthusiastic visitors!

Every visitor received information about wind energy in general and Aspiravi's activities in particular. People were free to walk around on the site, have a look in a wind turbine, or view a gondola from up close. A unique experience for young and old and everyone in between.

Visitors were given the opportunity to send a postcard picturing a creative children's drawing with a message of their choice about wind energy. Several hundreds of visitors wrote a card, which we then posted. Perhaps you were one of the recipients?

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Our wind energy projects are widely supported. We hope we can count on your support, too?

The extensive attendance and huge interest of visitors of the Open Business Day once again proved the support among the population for wind energy projects. Conversations we had with many of our visitors that day showed that people realise that renewable energy is the future and that wind energy projects play an important part in it. People see and accept that wind turbines increasingly mark our landscape. Unfortunately, that acceptance is seldom ventilated in public debates. Do you belong to the silent majority, too? Tell us! Send your opinion about wind energy to Ibelieveinwindenergy@aspiravi.be. We'll send you a nice postcard as a thank you.

Retrofit: disassembly and recycling of 7 old wind turbines...

After more than 13 years of service, Aspiravi's wind farm on the Pathoekeweg in Bruges was in need of renovation. The 7 operational wind turbines were disassembled in August. As much as 93% of the materials of the old turbines were recycled into raw materials for various industries. That's more than 470 tonnes of recycled materials from all of the turbines together.

The old installations thus found their way to an ecologically responsible destination. The old turbine parts were disassembled and separated into different streams of materials. Mostly ferrous scrap, but also non-ferrous materials such as aluminium, copper and plastics were given a new life. 93% of each wind turbine was converted into valuable materials. The remaining 7% are mostly non-recyclable plastics. Thanks to high-performance recycling technology, the materials of the old equipment will be given a new ecological purpose. After years of producing green energy they are now starting a new life as raw materials.

... and construction of 5 new wind turbines in Bruges

The site of the 7 old wind turbines becomes home to 5 new wind turbines that are four times as powerful. These 5 turbines will be placed on new foundations. At the time of writing this article, installation of 4 out of 5 turbines was complete.

The new wind turbines are of the Enercon E70 type and boast a capacity of 2.3 MW each (for comparison: the 7 old turbines each had a capacity of 0.6 MW). The new turbines will provide 5,000 families with green energy and reduce CO2 emissions by 7,998 tonnes per year. Another fine contribution to the many climate targets that need to be met and to a more sustainable future for next generations.

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15 new wind turbines on the Left Bank in the Port of Antwerp

Through the company Wind@Stroom, Aspiravi is also involved in the construction of 15 wind turbines on the left bank in the Port of Antwerp. An impressive project at a remarkable location. With the recent completion of the last two turbines, all 15 turbines are now ready for operation. Once their blades start spinning they will produce green energy for 35,000 families.

Contrary to the other 13 turbines, in the construction of the last 2 turbines the blades were not installed one by one in a so-called “single blade lift”, but as a “full rotor lift”. In other words: the three blades were assembled on the ground and lifted by the crane as one piece.

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Not idling in Limburg either: 11 new wind turbines on the way

Through the company Limburg Win(d)t, Aspiravi is currently building 11 new wind turbines in the Limburg province. We received the permits for these turbines in 5 different locations at practically the same time. Given that we actually build all the projects that receive a permit, we had a completely full work schedule in Limburg this year.

The construction works are now in full swing at all five locations. The foundation works have been completed and the large parts for the erection of the actual turbines have been delivered on site. In Genk, Limburg Win(d)t is building 4 new turbines at 2 locations on the Aperam company site. Build-up is now complete. In Maasmechelen (site Oude Bunders), Lummen (site Kolenhaven) and Ham (along the Albert Canal) two wind turbines are erected at each site. One turbine is being built at Dilsen-Stokkem.

All of the wind turbines will be operational by the end of the year. Besides producing green energy for 11,450 families each year, the 11 wind turbines reduce annual CO2 emissions by 18,314 tonnes. This equals annual emissions of 7,800 cars.

New construction projects on the horizon

Aspiravi is always looking for new locations that, within the existing rules and regulations, qualify for developing new wind energy projects. For some projects we have received the necessary permit and are currently examining the financial framework.

Read all about the final decision as regards the projects below in a next Newsletter:

  • Genk Noord: environmental and building permit obtained for 2 wind turbines at the industrial site alongside the E314.
  • Zele: environmental permit obtained for 3 wind turbines close to the industrial area and the high voltage line. Building permit pending.
  • Hoogstraten: environmental and building permit obtained for 1 wind turbine near the service station alongside the E19.

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Appeals dally off projects

Unfortunately, in recent years, each and every permit granted is followed by appeal proceedings. Consequently, it can take years before the actual construction of a project can take off. This has considerable consequences for our company and constitutes a challenge for proper business conduct. But this also hampers the targets concerning renewable energy that need to be met by 2020.

Aspiravi has several projects for which it has the necessary permits, but we await verdict in ongoing appeals.

The most regrettable is the enormous amount of time (sometimes up to four years) it takes for the Council of Permit Disputes to reach a decision. The sector organisation VWEA (Flemish Wind Energy Association) recently started a dialogue about the issue in an effort to reduce the term to a maximum of 6 months. We are currently awaiting the decision from the competent authority.

Permit applications for 16 wind turbines submitted

The development of new wind energy projects is preceded by in-depth studies testing and examining several aspects. Only after these studies have demonstrated that the rules and regulations are met and that all standards and restrictions can be complied with, are permit application files prepared and sent out.

In recent months permit applications were submitted for 16 new wind turbines in 6 locations. A list of potential projects that we hope to receive permits for:

  • 1 wind turbine along the E19 in Hoogstraten
  • 3 wind turbines along the double high voltage line at the border between Riemst and Bilzen
  • 2 wind turbines at the E19/RO (Ring) junction in Braine-l’Alleud
  • A double row of 3 and 2 wind turbines near the E40 in Hannut
  • 2 wind turbines along the E403 in Ruddervoorde/Veldegem
  • Application for building permit for 3 wind turbines in Zele near the industrial area and the high voltage line
Aspiravi Samen raises capital again. Will you register too?

As from 15/10/2015 shares of the Cooperative Company Aspiravi Samen are again available for application. The resulting capital will be used for the construction of our new wind energy farms in Bruges, Haaltert and Assenede. The prospectus and all detailed information concerning the offer and the risks can be found on the website www.aspiravi-samen.be.

The cooperative companies Aspiravi Samen and Limburg wind were both able to pay out gratifying dividends to their shareholders in 2014. Aspiravi Samen CVBA paid its 1,700 shareholders a 4% dividend, while Limburg wind's 5,500 shareholders received 4.5% for their investment in wind energy projects. An excellent result!