Belgium's renewable energy production reaches another high
Renewable energy production in Belgium broke another record in 2023, generating almost a quarter more electricity than in 2022, data from high-voltage grid operator Elia showed on Monday. However, nuclear and gas power plants still accounted for two-thirds of total electricity production.
A total of 21.5 terawatt hours (TWh) of green electricity was generated in 2023, accounting for 28.2 per cent of the electricity mix. This represents an increase of almost a quarter compared to the 17.4 TWh generated in 2022.
Elia says it is increasingly common for renewable energy sources to cover more than half of Belgium's consumption. In 2023, this happened 12.5 per cent of the time, three times as often as in 2022.
Wind farms in the Belgian North Sea - with 399 turbines - generated 8,011 TWh of electricity, almost a fifth more than the previous record set in 2021. Production from onshore wind turbines also rose sharply to a new record, increasing by 43 per cent to 6,268 TWh. Finally, solar panels generated 7,193 TWh of electricity, an increase of 12.2 per cent.
Nuclear energy still dominates
While the closure of the Doel 3 reactors at the end of September 2022 and Tihange 2 in February 2023 reduced the production of nuclear power plants in Belgium, nuclear power still accounted for the largest share of the country's electricity mix at 41.3 per cent. Gas-fired generation fell to its lowest level ever, accounting for 25.2 per cent of total power generation.
Electricity consumption in 2023 was also historically low. But Elia says this is a temporary phenomenon. "In the coming years, we expect a sharp increase due to the rapid electrification of industrial processes and the rise of electric cars and heat pumps". Elia estimates that consumption will increase by 50 per cent by 2032.
© BELGA PHOTO ERIC LALMAND