Climate targets: government is counting wind farms not yet in operation
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    Climate targets: government is counting wind farms not yet in operation

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    The federal energy minister Marie-Christine Marghem in basing her predictions for Belgium’s climate targets for 2020 on wind farms in the North Sea that will not be fully operational until 2021, the economy ministry has warned.

    The news comes in an internal government report obtained by Groen and revealed by De Morgen today.

    In calculating whether Belgium will meet its 2020 targets, Marghem, the report says, “is taking too little account of the delivery” of the three new wind farms in the North Sea. In fact, those three installations will only come on-stream at the end of the year, and will only be operating on full capacity in 2021 – and so cannot be counted as wind energy’s contribution to Belgium’s energy consumption for 2020.

    According to the EU policy on fighting climate change, Belgium has by the end of this year to achieve 13% of its total energy production from green sources. However leaving aside wind turbines that are not yet turning, the country falls some 1,500 gigawatt-hours short, or enough energy to power the homes of 425,000 families.

    The problem comes when account is taken of the fact that the Jambon government in Flanders is bound to fail in its aims, as already seems clear. If the federal government also has a shortfall, then Brussels and more especially Wallonia will have to compensate. Europe, the paper explains, regards Belgium as a single entity, and unless all three regions and the federal level together meet the national target, Belgium will be deemed to have failed.

    That leaves the government only one option: to buy energy allowances from countries which have some to spare. But to date, only 12 of the now 27 member states are on target to meet their goals, let alone exceed them. And any member state that has an excess to sell will be able to name its price. Member states who fail to meet their targets can be fined.

    According to a calculation made by the social-economic council of Flanders on the basis of that region’s shortfall alone, the bill for the whole country could top one billion euros in fines, De Morgen reports.

    Alan Hope
    The Brussels Times