The Belgian energy market
Over half of all power generation capacity in Belgium is more than 25 years old and needs to be replaced in the near future. In addition, the government has voted to phase out the nuclear power stations by 2025.
Belgium has always been a net importer of electricity and historically imported a significant portion of its electricity consumption. The level of imports has increased significantly in recent winters following the changes and problems in the Belgium power generation market as well neighbouring markets.
The Federal Ministry of Economics, FOD Economcie, K.M.O., Middenstand en Energie, addresses the need for new near-term power generation capacity in its recent report published in July 2012, Rapport over de middelen voor elektriciteitsproductie 2012-2017 (in Flemish) http://economie.fgov.be/nl/modules/publications/analyses_studies/rapport_moyens_production_electricite_2012-2017.jsp .
To ensure that sufficient generation capacity becomes available in the short term, State Secretary for Energy, Melchior Wathelet in June 2012 published a Plan. Amongst other measures, the Plan lead to a tender to build much needed flexible gas-fired power plants. Dils-Energie submitted its bid on 22 July 2014. On March 27th the Ministry of Energy cancelled the Tender procedure due to a preliminary opinion of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Competition to the tender which raised concerns about the scheme’s compatibility with EU State Aid regulations.
The Beligum Government in cooperation with DG Energy continue to investigate a suitable mechanism to alleviate the current and future capacity shortage in Belgium.
The newest study for 2017-2027 ordered by Minister of Energy and carried out by ELIA (the Belgium TSO) on the need for adequacy and flexibility clearly confirms the need of new, additional and flexible generation capacity for the Belgium energy market after 2023.