Buying energy is cheaper than investing in solar roofs
Because the price of electricity is currently very low, it is more interesting to buy electricity abroad than to invest in your wind turbines or solar power.
“It is not attractive to invest in a new wind energy project or a solar roof. It doesn’t look good for the coming years either,” says Chris Derde of the Flemish green electricity producer Wase Wind.
Bram Claeys, director of the Flemish sector organization for sustainable energy (ODE), can’t ignore it either. “It’s an uncertain time for investments in renewable energy. That was already the case before the corona outbreak, and it hasn’t improved,” he says.
Mix of risks
According to Claeys, uncertainty is fuelled by a mix of risks. There are the persistently low electricity prices on the wholesale markets, while electricity consumption has fallen sharply since the outbreak of the corona crisis.
In addition, the Flemish government’s premiums for green energy will be phased out from 2025 onward. With the current low electricity price and the abolition of the subsidy scheme in 2025, no one is investing in a new wind energy project.
Investments will stop
Alex Polfliet of the energy consultancy firm Zero Emission Solutions fears that investments in solar energy will stop more quickly. In the coming months, he predicts that many business investments in solar roofs will be put on hold.
“A large solar energy roof will cost 40 euros per megawatt-hour over a period of twenty years. That electricity is more expensive than on the wholesale marketsn,” Polfliet states. “This is the downside of low energy prices. They don’t encourage companies anymore to put money into energy efficiency and renewable energy.
No longer as an investment
Claeys and Luc Demeyere of energy broker Enbro are slightly less pessimistic. They expect that companies that give priority to a stable electricity price in the long term will continue to put money into a solar energy project.
“But the time when an investment could be profitable in just a few years is over. Those who saw it primarily as a profitable investment will not invest anymore. Anyone who sees solar energy as a way of making his energy consumption more efficient and greening it for the long term will continue to do so,” Demeyere thinks.
Flanders lacks a long-term vision
It ‘s a pity that this Flemish energy transition is only estimated in the short term. The demand for electricity will increase – also under the influence of electric mobility – and the phasing out of nuclear power will cause the supply (also abroad) to decline in the long run, causing the price of electricity on the international market to rise.
Moreover, the fear of a blackout is gone now that we have had a few mild winters, but this approach shows little sense of vision. “I am slowly losing courage about the approach in Flanders. I want to investigate whether we can call on the German support system for our new wind projects. That is more straightforward and entitles us to the most appropriate support possible,” Claeys concludes.