Engie Electrabel plans to build four new gas-steam plants, with a total capacity of 2,950 megawatts (mw) by 2025 to cover energy needs in Belgium, L’Echo reported on Saturday.
This is equivalent to the production of the four nuclear plants at Doel, which will have been closed by then.
The energy utility recently announced a freeze on investments aimed at extending the lifetime of its nuclear plants. For its part, the federal government has confirmed its intention to do away with nuclear power by 2025. It said it was holding over a final decision until the end of 2021, but for the energy company, this timeline is too long.
Engie Electrabel, which controls just under 70% of electricity production in Belgium, has thus decided to join the gas production race. Four major projects are on the table and “applications for permits, both federal and regional, have been submitted,” Electrabel Spokeswoman Heleen Smeets told l’Echo.
The company had already announced preparations to build a big gas plant in Vilvoorde. It wants to set up a second, 800mw, production unit at the BASF base in Antwerp. A large gas plant is also planned for Awirs in Liege Region, while a smaller unit, with a production capacity of 330 mw, is to be constructed at the Amercoeur site in Charleroi.
“The aim is to obtain the authorisations necessary for the first CRM (capacity remuneration mechanism) by the 1st of October of next year,” Ms Smeets explained. “They have all obtained a positive opinion from Elia for their connection to the high-tension network and the procedure required for the signing of a connection contract is already under way.”
The four projects could supply most of the 3,900 mw that will need to be generated in Belgium after 2025.