Belgium Planning 3km Long ‘Battery Island’

Belgium is considering constructing a horseshoe-shaped artificial island with a three kilometre diameter off its coast to use as an energy storage facility in conjunction with its offshore wind farms.
According to Russia Today, the majority of the island would be occupied by a reservoir. Energy would be “stored” by using electricity generated by the wind farms to pump seawater out of the reservoir. Energy would be recovered when required by allowing the water back into the reservoir via a hydropower plant at the heel of the horseshoe.
The project, which would be constructed around three to four kilometres off the coast of the province of West Flanders, would be a major initiative – taking around five years to construct and estimated to cost around the same as the wind farms it services.
Hydro “batteries” have been around for a very long time and small versions can even be found in some residential off grid installations in Australia. Water is pumped via a solar pumping system into tanks at a higher elevation and released and channelled into micro-hydro systems to generate power when required. The water is then stored in tanks at lower elevation, ready to be pumped back to the higher tanks.
Over half of Belgium’s electricity has been generated by nuclear power in the past; but with the spectre of the Fukushima disaster still making its presence felt, the country has been exploring safer and cleaner forms of electricity production. The nation’s nervousness with regard to nuclear was further heightened last year after cracks were found in two reactors. Those reactors are yet to be restarted.
According to; Belgium currently only sources four percent of its energy from wind power, but the European Wind Energy Association says the nation will expand capacity to over 4,000 megawatts by 2020. 
Belgium’s Deputy Prime Minister, Johan Vande Lanotte, says the government is currently seeking potential members for a consortium to operate the battery island.