Gas-fired power plants in Brabant in Vilford and Oerse, a village in the province of Liege, have been selected to receive support. This is evidenced by the results of the first auction of the Capacity Bonus Mechanism (CRM), published by the power grid operator Ilya. A total of 40 projects were selected, with a combined capacity of 4,447.7 MW. The capacity of the power plant at Vilford will be 796.25 MW and at Oers 803.35 MW.
The CRM was created by the federal government to ensure the supply of electricity from 2025, when the nuclear power plants in Belgium will be closed. Engie Electrabel has submitted two projects for gas-fired power plants, Vilford and Oyers. First auction for delivery in the winter of 2025-2026. Of the projects that were registered for the auction, 66 percent were selected. About three-quarters of the selected coils (2,799 MW) requested a one-year contract term, but there are also (1,648.72 MW) for 8 and 15 years.
More than half of the projects selected (56 percent) relate to existing sites. The two gas-fired power plants account for 36 percent, battery projects at 1 percent and demand management (shutdown) projects at 7 percent. The average annual price for the selected projects is €31,671.57 / MW. This is less than half the maximum price set by the government of €75,000/MW. The highest price chosen was just under €50,000/MW. A second auction will be held in 2024.
Conditions are met
“We are working to secure the supply path,” explained Chris Peters, CEO of Elia. He said in the past it’s “five to twelve”. “That hasn’t changed, but we’re on the right track,” Peters said. Energy Minister Tine van der Straiten (Green) confirmed that the terms of the auction had been met. It appears that “the number of projects involved is too much and the investment cost is lower”. The Minister also referred to the participation of all the major players in the field of energy and industry, which she believes indicates their willingness to invest in securing supply.
There is still uncertainty about gas-fired power plants. For example, Awirs obtained a permit, but Vilvoorde’s permit was denied by the county. It is now up to the Flemish government to decide. Van der Straiten trusts him. The minister emphasized that “the security of supply is a shared responsibility,” stressing the need to take procedural steps for nuclear power plants. In any case, there will be quarterly monitoring of progress.
Whether the outcome of this auction means that the path is now fully paved for the complete phase-out of nuclear weapons, she does not want to say openly. Today, at this point in the process, it’s not about a nuclear breakout. Now we note the results of the vault.” Van der Straiten will now prepare an assessment report, on the basis of which “the government will determine itself on how it wants to ensure the security of supplies and what the energy mix is.” In other words, whether or not it goes to a full nuclear exit.
“Quality and Competitive Enterprise”
Engie Electrabel is pleased that the gas and power projects in Vilvoorde and Awirs have been selected at a CRM auction for a 15-year contract with grid operator Elia. We have succeeded in developing quality and competitive projects. These new power plants will be high-tech and will be used to provide local and flexible electricity to Belgian homes and businesses,” said CEO Thierry Seigmann. “Once we have all the necessary permits, the teams will be fully focused on implementing these two large projects, which represent a total investment amounting to one billion euros.
“Extension of the Coalition Agreement”
The MR political party is skeptical about the outcome of the CRM auction. CRM is currently still quite uncertain in terms of available power capacity. We are also very concerned about CO2 emissions and price. President George Louis Bushes said on Twitter that planning for two gas-fired power plants on the first day of COP 26 should make us think.”
For Groen, on the other hand, it is clear that everyone can be guaranteed energy. “Today, our country is once again facing an important obstacle in the energy transition towards 100 percent renewable energy. The auction result shows that we can secure energy supplies for everyone. This is particularly good news for families and businesses,” said Chairman of the Board, Myriam Al Masi. The elements are now on the table so that you can further implement the coalition agreement.”
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