Share article:
Share article:

Government adopts support for gas power plants

The lame duck government of Prime Minister Charles Michel has a draft law ready in support of gas power plants, as a replacement for the nuclear power plants scheduled to close in 2025. The government has also raised the possibility that it will build these power plants.

Minister of Energy Marie-Christine Marghem (MR) wants to build seven new gas power plants. According to Marghem’s plan, the power stations would start up within six years. But the closure of two large nuclear power plants is scheduled to take place in four years. Even if everything goes according to plan, the gas plants will not be up and running on time.

Marghem’s bill is now moving to the Council of State and should subsequently be given the green light in the Chamber. However, the government no longer has a majority there. Deputy Prime Minister Alexander De Croo (Open VLD) was confident it would pass, saying: “It would surprise me if there is no majority in the Chamber to ensure the energy supply. I’m depending on the partners to ensure that the lights don’t go out.”

In the plan under discussion, the gas-fired power stations would be financed by a so-called capacity compensation mechanism, i.e. an additional subsidy. This means that the owner of the power station would receive a fixed fee for a predetermined quantity of electricity. The owner receives this amount in even when the electricity is not needed and the gas plants are idle. 

This puts that the candidate builder in a very strong negotiating position. The market mechanism is being suspended and we will see the consequences of this on our energy bill. “This is the result of five years of non-policy,” says KU Leuven professor and CEO of Energyville Ronnie Belmans. “They waited far too long. The government did not want and did not dare to move forward. And now they are in a situation where things are no longer working. This is an emergency measure. This indicates that the government is panicking and panic is never a good counsellor,” concludes Belmans.

Arthur Rubinstein
The Brussels Times

Latest news

Heirs of Michael Jackson demand that Belgian radio show ‘King of Pop’ changes name
The heirs of American pop singer Michael Jackson have demanded that a Belgian radio programme, called "King of Pop" changes its name, their lawyers ...
More than one billion coronavirus vaccines exported by EU
The European Union (EU) has exported more than one billion coronavirus vaccines globally over the past ten months, of which just under one-tenth was ...
SNCB brings free little libraries to stations
The Belgian railway company SNCB is adding free little libraries to its stations. The “book boxes,” as they’re called, allow passengers to grab a ...
Belgium in Brief: What Is Bouncing Back?
What do you think of when you think of a country "bouncing back" after a crisis?  Cambridge Dictionary says it is "to start to be successful again ...
Café patron stabs manager after being asked to see proof of vaccination
A customer stabbed a café manager in Brussels on Saturday after being asked to show his Covid Safe Ticket (CST), according to Bruzz. Asking to see ...
Belgium to simplify administrative processes with ‘digital wallet’
The federal government wants to create an online "wallet" for all people living in Belgium which would bundle all official documents, from visas to ...
‘Start of infection wave’: Flanders to turn red on European map again
Flanders will turn red on the map of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) again this week, as the daily average of new ...
Staff strike at application centre for asylum seekers
The staff of an application centre for asylum seekers in Brussels began a 24-strike on Monday morning, meaning that no one can apply for asylum there ...
Bpost plans to merge parcel and letter services in Belgium
The new CEO of Bpost – Belgium's primary mail delivery company and one of the country's largest civilian employers – has decided to merge the ...
Belgian playground bullying drama wins at London Film Festival
Playground (original title 'Un Monde'), the first feature film by Belgian director Laura Wandel, was awarded the top prize in the First Feature ...
Will Brussels bounce back?
The lockdowns have tested the city and forced it to confront key questions about its future. Derek Blyth looks back at an extraordinary moment in our ...
Brussels launches initiatives to improve cyclist and pedestrian safety
Two new initiatives are being developed in Brussels to make the city safer and more pedestrian and cyclist-friendly, especially around key areas on ...