Belgium approves plan for major energy transition works

Belgian federal Energy minister Tinne Van der Straeten has given the go-ahead for grid operator Elia to carry out a 10-year development plan to strengthen Belgium's energy supply and keep it affordable.

The 2024-2034 programme details how Belgium's electricity grid must evolve and expand to ensure energy independence in the transition to a carbon-neutral society.

"This energy transition will only succeed if the three objectives of the energy challenge are met: a reliable, sustainable and affordable energy system," said Elia.

Infrastructure projects

The report proposes many changes to adapt the grid to new production, such as renewables and offshore wind, and consumption patterns, including the massive electrification that will result from this renewable energy production.

"If we do not anticipate what is coming, the electricity grid will be a bottleneck for the large-scale integration of renewable energy, delaying the energy transition," said Elia.

Among the major infrastructure projects outlined in the report are the Triton link between Denmark and Belgium, which has already been delayed, and the Princess Elisabeth energy island off the Belgian coast. Other projects for the next ten years will be specified later.

Accelerating electrification

However, this first green light is not a go-ahead for all the projects as they stand, said Van der Straeten. She was referring in particular to the recent upward revision of the cost estimates for these two projects, which are now expected to cost millions of euros more. The minister has already confirmed that the Triton link will only go ahead if it receives an EU subsidy and if it is cost-effective for Belgian customers.

Belgium's federal energy watchdog, CREG, and several industry groups have expressed concern and announced a near doubling of electricity transport tariffs for the next tariff period. In response, Van der Straeten has argued that certain investments are "necessary to accelerate electrification and reduce CO2" and that "the cost of doing nothing is many times more expensive".



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