Belgium "must increase renewables ten-fold"

Government commission recommends strong promotion of wind, biomass, power production

A commission set up in Belgium to advise on the future of electricity generation has recommended a massive increase in renewables to partially compensate for a planned phase-out of nuclear electricity production. The share of renewables should climb to 10% of electricity supply by 2020, a report by the Ampere commission says.

Belgium is Europe's most electricity-intensive country and globally is eclipsed only by the USA. Over 50% of its electricity is generated in atomic energy plants, all of which are due to close by 2030 according to a government decision. But Belgium is also one of Europe's renewable energy laggards, producing only 1% of its electricity renewably.

In the report, published last month, the commission says Belgium must massively expand its wind energy sector, from 8.5 megawatts (MW) of installed capacity a year ago to 1,500 MW by 2020. Two-thirds of this capacity would be in offshore wind farms, it says. Electricity production from biomass must also increase five-fold to achieve the target, it says. Belgium has few options to develop other renewable energies.

To promote the shift, government subsidies would have to rise substantially to between euros 0.025-0.074 (BFr1-3) per kilowatt hour, it says. In a forthcoming EU directive to promote renewable electricity generation Belgium has been set an indicative target of reaching a 6% by 2010 (ENDS Daily 7 December 2000).

Follow Up:
Ampere commission, tel: +32 2 206 4297, and its final report.

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