Belgium secures energy supply for winter 2027-2028
On Monday, high-voltage grid operator Elia announced who will receive subsidies under the Capacity Remuneration Mechanism (CRM) to get Belgium through the winter of 2027-2028. Among the beneficiaries are the existing Vilvoorde gas power plant and several new battery projects. The construction of a new gas power plant is not considered necessary.
In 2021, Belgium introduced a CRM to ensure the security of the electricity supply after the planned closure of all nuclear power plants while supporting the energy transition. This mechanism awards support through annual auctions to units that can provide or save electricity from 2025 onwards and is based on "reliability options". This means that the mechanism is technology-neutral, market-wide and centralised and avoids windfall profits by imposing an obligation to repay the support received in the event of high prices.
While the decision has been taken to build two gas-fired power plants in Seraing and Les Awirs in 2021, the focus of this CRM auction was to secure part of the energy capacity for the winter of 2027-2028. Twenty-two projects were submitted, all of which received the support requested. The projects represent a total capacity of 1,576 MW. In addition to 972 MW of existing capacity, several new battery farms with a total capacity of 357 MW will be supported.
The existing gas power plant at Vilvoorde, just outside Brussels, will receive a life extension (246 MW) to be kept on standby for peak consumption moments. The construction of a new gas plant does not seem necessary to get through the winter of 2027-2028. With the increase in battery projects, support for a third gas plant is not an issue.
The life extension of Doel 4 and Tihange 3 has also been considered. In March 2022, Belgium decided to keep the reactors open for another ten years after long-standing plans to close all our nuclear plants by 2025.
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