May 28, 2024

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Nuclear exit could lead to blackouts, higher electricity prices and increased carbon dioxide emissions |  the interior

Nuclear exit could lead to blackouts, higher electricity prices and increased carbon dioxide emissions | the interior

If Belgium chooses to phase out nuclear weapons by 2025, the energy supply will come under pressure and the price of electricity will rise even more. It would also be difficult to achieve the goal of emitting less carbon dioxide. This is what some researchers from the University of Antwerp say.




Researchers Kevin Mehlis, Johann Bright and Johan Sprengel of the University of Antwerp simulated the effect of nuclear phase-out in Belgium in a study. Per hour, they calculated the cheapest set of different possible ways to supply electricity, such as wind turbines, solar panels, gas stations or imports, to meet annual electricity demand.

“The first result is that after the phase-out of nuclear weapons, Belgium will have to rely more on gas-fired power plants,” the researchers say. This will not only make it more difficult to achieve agreed targets to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, but also mean that the price of electricity will become more sensitive to increases in gas prices. In addition, renewables require significant investments in grid infrastructure, which also needs to be accounted for.”

Solar and wind energy

The second conclusion, according to the researchers, is that solar panels are very limited in the cheapest solutions.

“With regard to the use of wind turbines, the results suggest that they should always be backed by large investments in storage capacity such as batteries or gas-based replacement capacity to deal with their unpredictability,” the researchers said. “Necessary investments in both new production and storage capacity quickly lead to an increase in energy costs of at least 30 percent.”

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Strongly dependent on imports

Finally, after phasing out nuclear weapons, Belgium will still be highly dependent on energy imports from abroad. The study shows that nearly a third of the electricity required on an annual basis will have to be imported. This creates great dependence on our neighboring countries. Moreover, it remains to be seen whether our neighboring countries will actually have such surpluses at their disposal.


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Reducing the demand for electricity, which is almost certain to increase annually in the coming years, will only exacerbate these consequences.

Blackouts

The scientists point out that their study is based on “historic demand for electricity,” and therefore does not take into account the expected increase in demand. The emergence of electric vehicles and the increase in digitization are just two examples of the increased demand for electricity in the future.

The conclusion of the study is thus clear: after the (partial) phase-out of nuclear energy, the security of supply arises in behavior, which leads to blackouts or blackouts. “In addition, phasing out nuclear weapons in any case will increase electricity prices and the viability of internationally agreed carbon dioxide targets will decrease significantly,” according to the researchers. Reducing the demand for electricity, which is almost certain to increase annually in the coming years, will only exacerbate these consequences.