The situation on the Belgian power grid this winter
At the end of September 2018, Belgium had to cope with the sudden unavailability of several nuclear power plants. This unexpected, long-term unavailability of Doel 1, Doel 2, Tihange 2 and Tihange 3, until mid-December, means the loss of 3,000 megawatts (MW) of additional nuclear capacity. This corresponds to 25% of Belgium’s total controllable installed capacity. Over the coming winter, this will put the balance between supply and demand to the test.
The Belgian federal government has taken the initiative of setting up a task force led by Energy Minister Marie Christine Marghem to safeguard our country’s security of supply. As the operator of Belgium’s high-voltage grid, Elia is actively involved in this.
Although the risk of potential shortages has not disappeared altogether, it has been reduced for the months of November and December. This was achieved in various ways, such as by commissioning additional available generating capacity, postponing the servicing of some power plants and importing additional energy from abroad.
From mid-October onwards, Elia will launch an operational procedure to analyse weekly forecasts for the coming week. Together with the competent government departments, we can then ascertain which additional measures may need to be taken to maintain the country’s security of supply.