The closure of the Belgian nuclear power stations could lead to a 50% increase in CO² emissions from energy production between now and 2030. This is according to Economy Professor Johan Albrecht (UGent – Ghent University). He is also a member of the Itinera think-tank. The Federal government and Federal authorities will be negotiating the Energy Pact over the next few weeks. This Pact will determine the future of electricity production in Belgium.
The current legislation says the nuclear power stations will be shut down in 2025. The country will then be dependent on renewable energy, traditional gas-powered stations and importing electricity from abroad.
Through the book “Energy Trilemma”, which will be officially launched on the 19th of December, Johan Albrecht and Itinera hope to provide a useful reference and inspire decision makers by providing scientific data.
As part of this research, the UGent Professor has analysed several scenarios where the nuclear power stations are closed. If they are all stopped as per the current plan, CO² emissions from energy production could increase by 48 or even 72% between now and 2030. “The loss in capacity resulting from the closure of the nuclear power stations would have to be compensated by the construction of new gas-powered stations. Other alternatives, such as solar and wind energy, are weather-dependent and can’t meet demand”, he said.
By keeping the nuclear power stations partially running and limited to 4,000 megawatts, CO² emissions from energy production could fall by 13%. In a radical scenario that includes a drop in the demand for electricity and a sharp increase in renewable energy capacity, emissions could drop by 22%. This scenario also includes an increase in biomass capacity and the capacity to stock energy.
However, all of these scenarios would have a negative impact on energy prices for households and businesses. They could increase by 40 to 100% over the next thirteen years.
The discussion on the future of nuclear energy creates friction within the majority parties. This week the N-VA, contrary to the others, questioned whether it was right to stop using nuclear power. The Flemish nationalists are not planning to sign the Energy Pact if it involves closing the nuclear power stations.