Belgium’s electricity supply is guaranteed this winter thanks to mild weather and additional energy capacity made available by operators, according to Federal Energy Minister Marie Christine Marghem (Reformist Movement, MR). Things are back to normal after a “very problematic” situation in September, caused by the unavailability of many of the country’s nuclear reactors, Marghem indicated on Wednesday.
January and February are usually considered the most critical months for energy in Belgium. On Wednesday, a task force comprising the main actors concluded, however, that the situation no longer warranted “particular concern” between now and the end of winter in March.
Four of Belgium’s seven nuclear reactors are now operational, following the resumption of generation at Doel 4 and Tihange 3 at the start of the year. “The current temperatures coupled with the probable return of Doel 2 and the Nemo electrical interconnection with the United Kingdom, with a capacity of 1,000 megawatts, guarantee the electricity supply up to the end of winter,” the minister said.
The extra capacity made available by the operators is about 1,300 megawatts, coming mainly from the recommissioned gas plants and the increased capacity at the Electrabel park.
Wholesale prices had increased when it was announced that many of the nuclear reactors were unavailable, but gradually went down and are now at pre-September levels, Minister Marghem disclosed.