"Electricity prices to increase substantially"

Electricity will become a lot more expensive in the coming decades, the Planning Office warns. Prices are expected to double by 2030. The price hike is due to the investments that are needed to cope with an increased demand and to keep infrastructure up to date.

The Planning Office estimates that 51 gigawatt extra will be needed by 2050. This equals the power production of one big nuclear plant, and implies extra investments in new infrastructure and updates of the present installations. These investments could cost up to 62 billion euros.

As Belgium plans to close all its nuclear sites by 2025, alternative energy sources will have to be found, some working on natural gas while others should be sustainable energy sources. The aim is to get 50 per cent of the power supplies from renewable energy sources by 2050. Natural gas installations will play a major role in the meantime. The Panning Office estimates that 3 new plants will have to be built each year.

All this implies major investments. These will lead to substantial price hikes for electricity. The cost to produce 1 megawatt could climb with as much as 60 per cent by 2020, the Planning Office warns. Power prices could double in the longer term, by 2030, as natural gas will also become more expensive. The price hike is expected to stop after 2030, when more sustainable energy sources become available.