Belgium's power supply could be in trouble without nuclear deal
If negotiations on keeping its nuclear plants open longer fail, Belgium will need to introduce expensive emergency measures to keep the lights on. Chris Peeters, CEO of Belgian high-voltage grid company Elia, made the comments in an interview with De Tijd on Saturday.
"In that case, you end up in a scenario similar to the difficult winter of 2018, when six of the seven nuclear power plants were shut down and we had to pull out all the stops," he said.
Belgium has been negotiating with French energy company Engie for more than a year to keep the newest reactors, Doel 4 and Tihange 3, open until 2035. The government hopes both plants will become available for the critical winters of 2025-2026 and 2026-2027.
"There are alternatives, but those alternatives will not be easy and not cheap," Peeters says. It is too late to have additional gas plants built by the end of 2025. "If the government had wanted to go down that route, it should have started before the Easter holidays," he said. "It didn't happen, which means they are confident of a good outcome."
"There are alternatives, but those alternatives will not be easy and not cheap"
Without nuclear power plants, "power boats", boats with a power plant running on fossil fuels that can be connected to the electricity grid, might have to help out. Another option is to restart Engie's old gas-fired power plant in Vilvoorde and the Rodenhuize biomass power plant near Ghent.
© BELGA PHOTO ERIC LALMAND