Almost half of Belgians don't know where their electricity comes from, according to a study from energy platform Bolt Energie.
That study found that 41% of Belgians have no idea where their electricity comes from: half of those who say they do know (20.5%) think it comes from within Belgium, while the other half (28.7%) suspect that it comes from a mix of domestic and foreign sources.
“That there is confusion is not surprising,” Pieterjan Verhaeghen, CEO and co-founder of Bolt, told Metro.
Green energy contracts in Belgium constitute about 36% of the total share, but only less than half (12%) actually comes from renewable energy sources within the country. In Flanders, which leads the way when it comes to green power contracts, only 5% actually come from the region itself.
Belgians think they use more green energy than they really do
Many Belgians think they have a contract for green energy, but they do not: less than half of the green power contracts in Belgium actually originate from local renewable energy sources.
Bolt Energie's study showed that Belgians who indicate that they are customers of a larger energy supplier think that they either only receive energy from Belgium, or a mix of domestic and foreign energy – the latter of which is closer to the truth.
Sourcing energy sustainably has become less important to Belgians as they find themselves hit with massive bills due to soaring prices.
The study showed that price is currently the most important aspect in choosing an energy supplier for 92% of respondents, a figure that spanned all segments, irrespective of age, language, or education level.
Sustainability (40.8%) and locally produced energy (30.2%) come in fourth and fifth place. Reliability (75.1%) and service (48.6%) follow.
Belgians say they want local energy – if it’s the same price as foreign-sourced
The study also found that 90.7% of Belgians claim to want to buy their electricity locally if it has the same price as from abroad.
The perception is that it is more expensive: 61.7% of respondents say an energy contract with only green electricity is pricier than a foreign-sourced power or a mix.
But Verhaeghen says this couldn’t be further from the truth: “You would suspect that 'short chain' energy bypasses the trends in the wholesale market. Yet the power from local energy generators is neither cheaper nor more expensive than other power.”
Belgians indicated optimism about the future when it comes to sustainable energy.
Just over half (55%) predict that within 50 years the country will be using only renewable energy.
“But we are not there yet,” Verhaeghen said. “The enthusiasm is there. But there is an urgent need for a focused, broadly supported plan across party and government boundaries.”