Flanders still miles away from reaching 2020 renewable and green energy target

According to recent figures released by the Flemish Energy Agency it is almost impossible that Flanders will reach the targets for renewable and green energy that had been set for 2020. Despite our region having made progress towards increasing the percentage of energy produced from renewable and green sources, the gap been the amount of renewable and green energy produced and the targets set for 2020 remains extremely large. If the targets are to be met we will need to increase the percentage of energy produced from renewable and green sources five times quicker than has been the case so far.    

Renewable energy is sourced from wind turbines or solar panels while green energy is sourced from heat pumps and bio-fuels. Belgium as a whole is committed to meeting targets sets for green and renewable energy that are laid out in the European Climate and Energy Package. Within Belgium the targets are split up between the regions. The most recent figures for Flanders show that our region is a very long way away from reaching the targets set for next year.

In 2018 Flanders should have produced 8,649 gigawatt/hour of green electricity. 8,525 gigawatt/hour was actually produced. Next year the target is set at 10,519 gigawatt/hour. Meanwhile, the gap between the target set and the amount produced is greater still when we look at heating produced from green sources. Last year’s target was 8,473 gigawatt/hour. However, less than 7,800 was actually produced. In 2020 the target is 9,197 gigawatt/hour.  

Last year the total percentage of renewable energy produced in Flanders increased and the gap with the 2020 target shrank by 2.5%. Currently Flanders is 78% of the way to achieving the 2020 target. However, this still leaves a long way to go and the chance that the target will be reached is slim if not impossible. 

Biomass

There are more wind energy turbines and solar panels in Flanders than ever before. In 2018 they produced slightly more energy that was set out in the targets. Nevertheless, if the 2020 targets are to be met a large number of solar panels and wind turbines will need to have entered service before the end of next year. Opposition from those living near to proposed new wind turbine sites means that it is unlikely that enough of them will be in service for us to have reached the 2020 target by 31 December next year.

There is a big backlog with the construction of biomass power stations that produce both electricity and heat by burning wood or green waste. While biomass is still our largest source of green energy the percentage of electricity and heat produced from biomass as stagnating or even falling back slightly. Last year’s short fall was large and was not compensated for by other renewable energy sources. 

"We will need to go further than an extra mile”

Bram Claeys of the Organisation for Renewable Energy told VRT News that “The figures aren't greatly uplifting. The targets for 2020 currently look very difficult to reach. We will have to go further than an extra mile” .

Mr Claeys added that while a number of investments are being considered in biomass projects it is questionable whether they will be ready in 2020.

He also criticised the policy of the new Flemish Government that has decided to reduce subsidies for green energy projects.