Belgium’s draft National Energy and Climate Plan has wind energy, and offshore wind in particular, at its heart.
The country’s National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP) is being developed in response to the EU-wide renewable energy target of 32% by 2030.
WindEurope reports that in the current draft of its NECP, Belgium promises a 2030 total renewables target of 18.3%. This stands in contrast to Belgium’s 2020 renewable energy target of 13%. At the moment, renewables account for just 9.1% of Belgium’s energy demand.
Wind power will play a vital role in the energy transition, and Belgium’s current NECP draft reflects that, to a degree. The NECP contains high ambitions for offshore wind, with an expected 4 GW of total installed capacity by 2030.
However, the onshore target of 4.2 GW is relatively low. For Flanders, in particular, there are plans for a mere 51 MW of new installed capacity per year for the period 2020-2030, and this does not even incorporate estimations for installations coming to the end of their operational lifetime.
The current draft of the plan has a strong emphasis on grid and system integration; infrastructure; and decarbonising heating and industrial processes. It also incorporates a complete nuclear phase-out by 2025. The NECP includes provisions to introduce capacity mechanisms for new gas plants that need to be built and be operational by 2025.
As next steps, the Belgium federal government will request input from various advisory councils and organise a large public consultation on the draft text. The European Commission will give feedback on the NECP in June. The plan should then be finalised and sent to the Commission by the end of this year.
Earlier this week MHI Vestas installed the first of 44 turbines at Norther, one of a number of new offshore windfarms in Belgium.