“Your gas is poisoning us” and "The war is on with fossil fuels" were some of the slogans that climate activists projected on the gas power plants of Luminus in Seraing and Engie in Flemalle on Monday.
The protest forms part of the wider campaign by members of the Dégaze Tegengas collective against the construction of new power plants in these municipalities.
One month ago, Luminus got the green light to build a new gas power station in Seraing. This will secure the supply of energy after the nuclear phase-out. Engie-Electrabel recently started preparatory works for a power plant in Flemalle.
“This is important to secure our country's electricity supply, to guarantee investment in security for companies and provide our citizens and businesses with affordable electricity,” Energy Minister Tinne Van der Straeten (Groen) told VRT.
“With two new gas-fired power stations within 5 km of each other and a nuclear power station operating in our backyard for at least another 10 years, our region is in danger of becoming the country's electrical dustbin," said Léo Tubbax, spokesman for Dégaze Seraing/Flémalle.
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After finally reaching an agreement at the end of 2021 to phase-out nuclear energy, Belgium has since done a u-turn on this policy in light of the rise in energy prices and the Russian war in Ukraine. The government has now decided that Doel 4 and Tihange 3 power plants will continue to operate.
"Gas fuels war, gas drives up energy prices and disturbs the climate. In 2022, there is no good reason to build any new gas power plants, especially not to subsidise them. Not in Vilvoorde, not in Seraing, not in Flémalle, not anywhere," added Ike Teuling from Tegengas.
From 25 to 29 May, the citizens' initiative will organise a "Cyclo Tour", passing through the various places in the country where new gas-fired power stations are planned. The tour will end on Sunday 29 May in the Meuse valley in Liège, where Dégaze/Tegengas will campaign in Seraing, Flémalle and at the Tihange 3 nuclear reactor.