Energy minister aims to attract more battery storage investors

Belgian Energy minister Tinne Van der Straeten (Groen) wants to organise an additional auction within the CRM investment mechanism to attract more battery farms to Belgium. The investments involved are potentially worth millions of euros.

A survey shows a healthy appetite among investors to invest more in battery parks, Van der Straeten's cabinet says. For Belgium, there would be a capacity of 2 gigawatts, equivalent to the production capacity of two relatively large nuclear reactors.

On top of this, the association of European grid operators ENTSOE-E notes in a recent report that there will be more periods in summer when too much wind and solar energy are generated, overloading the grid and - as was the case this past weekend - requiring wind turbines to be switched off.

That excess energy can be captured with flexible capacity, such as a battery farm, after which it can bridge windless and cloudy days. The capacity can also help smooth out demand peaks, which will be increasingly common with further electrification.

More flexible

Van der Straeten explained the capacity remunerating mechanism or CRM at the beginning of the legislature. The mechanism serves to attract production capacity of all kinds to Belgium through subsidies and to absorb the closure of nuclear reactors.

However, the current mechanism is too rigid for certain investors, the minister's office says. Two auctions are organised for each delivery year: a first one four years before the energy has to be delivered and a second one year in advance. That way, investments are possible in both technologies with a longer preparation time, such as gas power plants, and projects that can be realised more at short notice. Battery farms are somewhere in between.

That is why Van der Straeten is now considering organising a "T-2 auction", aimed at delivery two years later. To do so, the CRM needs to be amended. Depending on how quickly the government gets this done legally, capacity should be available in the winter of 2026 or 2027.



Energy minister Tinne Van der Straeten © BELGA PHOTO ANTHONY DEHEZ

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