This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.
Belgium’s National Energy and Climate Plan sets a 2030 target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the energy sector by 35% from 2005 levels, to reach 17.5% renewables in gross final energy consumption, and to significantly reduce energy demand. Belgium has made progress on these goals. Coal-fired generation was phased out in 2016, and Belgium is a global leader in offshore wind, with 2.23 GW in 2020 and plans for 4.5 GW by 2030.
Belgium remains reliant on fossil fuels and is facing energy security challenges. Nuclear energy covers over half of electricity demand, while the government has committed to phasing out nuclear between 2022 and 2025. Almost half of Belgium’s gas imports come from the Netherlands, with most delivered through a dedicated network connected to the Groningen gas field, which will stop production in mid-2022. Belgium is working to address energy security issues and has one of the most interconnected electricity grids in Europe.
A central component in Belgium’s energy transition is the government’s plan to close at least five of Belgium’s seven nuclear plants by 2025. Experts have expressed concern that these closures will almost certainly result in electricity insecurity, higher prices for energy, and an increase in carbon emissions. In particular, they point to the fact that the state plans to build new gas-fired power stations as an energy bridge to Belgium’s renewables future, and that higher emissions from these power stations will undermine the country’s goal of becoming carbon-neutral by 2050. The energy transition will nonetheless present commercial opportunities for U.S. companies, as it will boost Belgian demand for natural gas and electric cars, creating large market potential for U.S. electric car manufacturers and providers of natural and liquefied natural gas (LNG). The continuing EU-wide process of deregulation and liberalization also influences the rapidly changing Belgian energy market. U.S. companies wanting to export to the Belgian energy market must be aware and take into account these changing factors, which will determine the potential for exports of relevant goods and services to this market.
Total energy supply by source, Belgium 1990-2019
working to address energy security issues and has one of the most interconnected electricity grids in Except for some limited renewable energy potential, Belgium has no natural energy sources. In 2019, the net importation (=importation –exportation) of electricity covered roughly 20% of the total consumption of net electricity in Belgium. The country imports all its natural gas and petroleum requirements for its energy needs, amounting to almost 35,000 ktoe (kilo-ton oil equivalent) in 2018. 3.024 tons per habitant of primary energy and 21.64 tWh of net electricity are imported each year. In 2018, the final consumption of electricity amounted to 85.07 tWh. It is divided between different sectors: industry (32%), transport (27%), housing (25%), services (14%), and agriculture (approximately 2%).
Generation, Transmission, and Distribution of Electricity
Generation, transmission, and distribution activities for the electricity system have been separated and deregulated with a goal to increase grid efficiency. However, this has not yet led to a satisfactory level of competition, mainly among distribution firms. The federal and regional governments will most likely continue to create incentives to improve the efficiency of market forces on the industry. While the various government bodies have persistently warned against a likely shortage of Belgian electricity, the industry itself seems reluctant to invest in relevant infrastructure to meet the market’s need. Key factors for this are the inability to pass along costs to rate payers, limited cross-border network capacity impairing exports of excess production, uncertainties with respect to environmental policies, the phasing out of the civil nuclear electricity program, and the market behavior of the main utility Engie. U.S. firms can therefore expect opportunities in those areas when some of these bottlenecks are removed.
- Nuclear phase-out is to be completed in 2025
- Engie dominates power generation with almost three quarters of total production and is the largest gas supplier.
- Around two thirds of electricity was generated from carbon free sources in 2020.
- Household electricity prices are around 30% higher than the EU averages.
- Natural gas prices are around 30% lower than the EU averages.\Total energy consumption declined by almost 6% in 2020.
- Belgium is phasing out coal from its energy mix.
- The country will auction 2.3 GW of gas-fired capacity in October 2021.
- Fluxys (gas transmission and LNG Import Terminal Operator) will almost double the capacity of its Zeebrugge LNG import terminal.
- Belgian’s energy independence rate is low: 27%.
- 2.3 GW of additional solar capacity since 2015.
- The institutional framework of the energy sector in Belgium is based on the subsidiarity principle, i.e. the sharing of responsibilities between the federal authorities, the three regions (Flanders, Wallonia, and Brussels), and the local authorities.
- Total energy consumption per capita is 57% higher than the EU average, at 4.5 toe (2020). Electricity consumption per capita is a third above the EU average and amounted to around 7 100 kWh in 2020.