Cold snap: possible that strategic reserves may be used this week
Monday, 16 January 2017
Belgium’s electricity transmission system operator anticipated on Friday that strategic reserves could be activated this week, for the first time in their history. If that is the case, this will be possibly Tuesday and Wednesday, ELIA (Belgium’s electricity transmission system operator) indicated on Monday. This is a very “real” possibility, according to the operator’s spokesperson.
The anticipated cold snap in Belgium and France will lead to increased consumption peaks, mainly in France. There several nuclear power stations have been shut down and heating systems are mainly electric.
Belgium may possibly have to import between 1,000 to 1,400 MW this week alone.
The strategic reserves serve to cushion structural production deficits during the winter period.
The volume of strategic reserves for winter 2016-2017 has increased to 750 MW and is contractually guaranteed by the use of gas-fired power stations in Seraing and Vilvorde. As a rule, this reserve capacity may be activated for technological or economic reasons, although it has never been before.
In cases of absolute need, ELIA may call upon operational reserves or procure additional power from neighbouring countries (the Netherlands and Germany).
ELIA says that there is no general load-shedding plan (involving systematically shutting down parts of the country’s network) anticipated for this winter.