Belgium exports electricity for the first time in a decade

Figures from grid operator Elia show that for the first time in a decade Belgium exported electricity last year.  The figures also reveal that nuclear energy is still responsible for half of all our electricity needs, while total energy consumption fell slightly in 2019.

Belgium exporting electricity may come as somewhat of a surprise.  In 2018 the country needed to import 20% of its electricity requirements.  By 2019 we were able to export 2% of production.

2018 was an annus horribilis for Belgian generators: six of the country’s seven nuclear plants were offline for a while.  In 2019 nuclear was far more readily available. Green energy production was up by 17% largely thanks to more wind turbines at sea.

Belgium meets half of its electricity needs through nuclear power.  By law, though, all nuclear plants need to close by 2025. More electricity is being produced by gas plants.  In the fall of 2018 gas power plants in Vilvoorde and Seraing started to produce electricity for the grid once again. The gas plants were needed to compensate for the loss of nuclear through the closures.

Electricity consumption fell slightly last year as we became more energy efficient but is expected to rise further as more electric cars are used.