Friday, 09 March 2018
Pierre Mongin, Deputy CEO of the Engie group, the parent company of Electrabel, made a key statement on Thursday, speaking on the fringe of the presentation of the group’s 2017 financial results. He suggested that if further extensions of the life of particular Belgian nuclear reactors were to take place, Engie would want a “guarantee”. Such a mechanism would counter a highly significant potential decrease in energy prices. His remarks were taken up again on Friday in Le Soir, L’Echo, La Libre Belgique and De Tijd.
He explained, “Extending Belgium’s nuclear energy would prove less expensive than heavily developing upon renewables, but it will be expensive all the same.” He said, “So as to extend the life of Tihange 1 and Doel 1 and 2, we have committed an investment of €1.3 billion. It is a considerable effort, and we must finance it. If the Belgian government decides to extend the life of other reactors, serious regulation will be required…to protect us from excessive price fluctuations.”
Pierre Mongin’s view is, “If extension (of nuclear power stations, editor’s note) is beneficial, there is no reason not to share part of the profits. However if prices collapse, our investments must be protected.”
The Frenchman flagged up the case of the United Kingdom, to indicate the way forward for the energy market. He stated, “Consider the Contract for Difference that exists in the UK energy market, by which the state compensates any loss of earnings in the event of excessively low prices.”
The Brussels Times