Generally speaking, the composition of the country’s generation facilities is strongly influenced by national and European energy policy decisions.
- The European Commission’s environmental goals and targets to reduce consumption by 2020 kick-started the rise of renewable energy generation. The intermittent nature of renewable energy sources makes them more difficult to predict, so they also constitute a challenge for the management of the electricity system.
- Several gas-fired power stations are being shut down, or their future is uncertain. In late 2014, it was announced that conventional generation facilities accounting for a capacity of 1,612 MW would be closed down. However, some 863 MW of that 1,612 MW will remain available, at least for winter 2015-2016.
- Investments have not yet been made in new non-intermittent generation facilities. Against this economic backdrop, the government launched a number of legislative initiatives on nuclear generation facilities, resulting in the extension of Doel 1 and Doel 2’s service lives. Furthermore, the Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (FANC) recently gave its approval for the Doel 3 and Tihange 2 nuclear units to restart, so there will be a very significant increase in generation for the coming winter.
In light of this situation, Belgium must nevertheless import energy from neighbouring countries, especially when solar and wind power generation is low.