The European Investment Bank (EIB) has granted a loan of €438m to support the development of the Norther windfarm off the coast of Belgium.

Half of the €438m loan will be guaranteed under the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), which is the heart of the Juncker Commission’s Investment Plan for Europe. Deployed with 44 wind turbines, the new Norther project is the third off the coast of Belgium to be supported under the EFSI.

EIB's vice-president Pim van Ballekom said: “In the last five years, the EIB has invested over €880m in wind energy projects in Belgium to ensure a safe, affordable, and diversified supply for a large portion of the Belgian population.

“Thanks to the backing under EFSI, the bank can take on more of these projects, which creates jobs while helping to support the energy switch.”

With EIB providing a share of around 40%, the total cost of the project is estimated to be €1.1bn. It will have a rated capacity of 8MW, which can be increased by 5% under favourable wind conditions.

With its completion, the project will be able to generate around 352MW of wind energy, which can further be increased to up to 370MW under certain conditions.

Energy produced at the farm will be enough to supply electricity to approximately 324,000 Belgian households and will reduce carbon-equivalent greenhouse emissions by 593,000t every year.

While construction is expected to commence in spring next year, the Norther wind project is estimated to be operational in the summer of 2019.