January 20, 2022

Taylor Daily Press

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Belgium exports a record volume of electricity

Belgium exports a record volume of electricity

Belgium has never exported as much electricity as it did in 2021. This is partly due to nuclear power plants, which have been running at full speed.

Last year, 59 percent more electricity was exported than in 2020, according to annual figures for high voltage grid operator Ilya. The output represents 21.7 terawatt-hours (TWh). Net exports minus imports – it fell to 6.6 TWh, an unprecedented figure. Energy consumption in our country fluctuates around 80 TWh.

Electricity exports from Belgium have increased for several years now. This has a lot to do with the nuclear power plants at Doel and Tihange. Over the past decade, Belgian nuclear reactors have been repeatedly shut down for extended periods, with the result that our country has become dependent on electricity imports to cover consumption. The fact that power plants have been able to operate again for most of the year, along with a continuous increase in green energy production from wind and solar, means that Belgium now has enough electricity.

Green energy scores too

In 2021, as in 2020, many renewable energy records were broken. On May 21, our country broke the record for wind and solar energy in our country: the absolute production after that amounted to more than 6.4 gigawatts.

Wind and solar production increased slightly over the year (up 2 percent) to 15.2 TWh, which represented 16.7 percent of last year’s electricity mix. This is mainly due to the increased capacity of onshore wind energy and solar panels. Offshore wind capacity has remained stable, as no additional capacity has been installed. Additional expansion of offshore wind farms is planned for 2026.

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In terms of electricity prices, 2021 was the equivalent of 2020. Because of the shutdowns in 2020 and associated lower consumption, the price of energy was the lowest in years. In 2021, prices were exceptionally high.

The fact that our country can export a lot of energy is supported by the significant expansion of high voltage connections across borders since 2018. These include the first direct connection with the UK and Germany.