Marghem promises nuclear phase-out texts will be ready on time
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Marghem promises nuclear phase-out texts will be ready on time

© Belga

The Federal Government will submit the texts for the implementation of the Capacity Remuneration Mechanism (CRM) to the European Commission before the end-of-year deadline, Energy Minister Marie Christine Marghem told a parliamentary commission on Thursday.

Belgium will phase out nuclear power generation by 2025 under a 2003 law confirmed under the preceding government. To prepare for that and guarantee supply, that government created the CRM, which should favour new energy sources, particularly gas plants.

In April, the Chamber approved the mechanism, through which producers would be reimbursed for providing capacity after committing to pay back any difference between the option price and market price when that capacity is used.

A first auction is scheduled for 2021. The caretaker government has prepared the royal decrees for implementing the law, which need to be presented to the European Commission by the end of the year for Belgium to be ready on time.

That deadline will be respected, according to Marghem since they will be sent to the Commission by Friday.

Given its caretaker nature, the government has not been able to resolve a number of issues, most notably the mode of financing of the CRM. Three options are on the table and should be resolved by the next government. One is a public service obligation by the energy supplier (who, in one way or the other, will pass it on to the consumer) or through an energy tax – on fossil fuels, for example.

Elia, the company that runs the electricity transport network, has prepared many royal decrees, including one on the method for calculating the required capacity and the parametres of auctions.

In an opinion handed down on 6 December, the commission that regulates electricity and gas, CREG, commented that the text needed an “in-depth review,” the president of the regulator’s management committee, Koen Locquet, said.

CREG charged that the text applied the law partially, was non-compliant with European legislation and ignored the level of supply security set by the law.

The Brussels Times

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