Upon request of Febeliec, the ‘Federation of Belgian Industrial Energy Consumers’ EnergyVille has published an objective study of the Belgian Electricity system of 2020-2030. Without giving preference to any specific technology, this study consolidates and reports on possible energy scenarios for Belgium in 2020 and 2030 including their implications on energy production and costs for the Belgian industry. Remarkable about this study is that all calculations strive towards the best economic solutions or the lowest costs, for the whole system.

Our energy system, in particular the electricity provision, is in full transition. To gain a better understanding of what the possible courses are for this energy transition, Febeliec consulted EnergyVille to develop an objective analysis of possible scenarios for the electricity production in Belgium for 2020-2030. The following questions were explored: 1) What will our electricity production look like in 2020, taking into account current political decisions and in which the model choses the best economic options? 2) What will the Belgian electricity provision look like in 2030, taking into account the most recent expert knowledge of technological options? 3) What impact will the possible political choices have on the related cost of the energy system transition?

To get an accurate answer to these questions 4 sensitivity parameters were developed to generate and compare different scenarios. The parameters were developed together with Febeliec and consist of: ‘the import capacity of electricity’, ‘the fossil fuel prices’ and ‘the phase out of nuclear energy’. By altering the assumptions on these main parameters different scenarios were generated that represent the possible energy production landscape for Belgium in 2020 and 2030. Moreover it was incorporated into the study to minimally comply with the renewable targets of Belgium (13% renewable energy with regard to the total demand in 2020 and 2030). The emission sources that are incorporated into the emission trade system are given a CO₂ price of 17€/ton in 2020 and 33€/ton in 2030.

The different scenarios were calculated with the TIMES model. The EnergyVille TIMES model for Belgium is a ‘techno-economic energy system model’, including production and demand. It calculates different scenarios based on the evolution of technical and economic parameters and focuses on the most cost-efficient solution to comply with the demand. External funding of technologies like subsidy schemes are considered a way of financing, i.e. a cost for society, and are therefore not included in the model and the study.

The analysis originally set off from current policy decisions and modest assumptions. This base scenario follows parameters such as an increase of commercial electricity import capacity from currently 3.500 MW to 6.500 MW in 2020, moderately rising fossil fuel prices and a complete phase out of nuclear energy between 2022-2025.

The outcome from the TIMES model shows that in the base scenario the renewable electricity production will increase threefold till 2030, from 11 to 36 TWh. In this scenario it is expected that by 2030, 50% of the electricity production will be generated by solar PV and on- and offshore wind power. The results of the sensitivity scenarios confirm this tendency of increasing renewable based electricity generation. At the same time the results show that the capacity of natural gas plants need to remain close to current levels, i.e. 6000 MW. According to the model results the natural gas power plants and an improved interconnection capacity to neighbouring countries are necessary to balance the more volatile power supply from renewable sources. The TIMES model similarly indicates an increase of renewable electricity generation capacity by over 300% from 2016 to 2030. With that renewable technologies become more and more cost-competitive in the transition of the energy system.

By putting the different scenarios next to each other and scrutinizing the energy production and cost efficiency, a unique comparative analysis of possible future energy scenarios originates. These energy scenarios aim to give an objective overview of the individual effects of the different parameters on the future electricity system, from the perspective of the lowest economic impact on the country. With this quantitative analysis EnergyVille aims to support the industry and public authorities by providing the latest objective data.

The study was presented during a press conference, of which you can download the slides below. The scientific report on the study detailing the model, the assumptions and the results is also available below.