“What I will explain is worse than what the press has reported,” said Jean-Claude Baum, from the research service of Beaums-Energy of the Polytechnic School in Brussels, at a press conference on Thursday. The press conference was held at the Free University of Brussels (ULB) to address the risk of a power shortage in Belgium this winter. “When I speak of blackout, I’m not talking about voluntary manual load shedding, which is a way to avoid a blackout. I’m talking about an incident that occurs when there is an imbalance between electricity production and consumption, “said the professor. “The room for maneuver on our electrical system is very limited. It operates on 50 Hz. If the system reaches 49 or 51, there is the risk of cascading incidents on the network. As soon as an incident occurs, it has to be dealt with quickly, otherwise other incidents and blackouts will occur. The weather alone can be enough to trigger an incident, “warned Jean-Claude Baum.
Why is there a risk of blackout in Belgium? According to Jean-Claude Baum, “we have known for years that the demand for electricity and the means of production have changed. But no one has invested in the electricity transmission network. The market fails to satisfy long term planning. Moreover, each country retains jurisdiction while the whole of Europe is interconnected, “explained the professor. “A decision such as the output of nuclear power in Germany has consequences for neighboring countries, including Belgium, a net importer of electricity.” Belgium is very exposed to the risk of blackouts. “What would happen if France suddenly decided not to export because it would also be affected?” “It is therefore essential to make choices in the operation of the power system based on a risk analysis, “he said.