Eurostat: Benelux with Malta lagging behind in renewable energy
According to figures from the European bureau of statistics Eurostat, only 9,9% of the energy Belgians used in 2019 came from renewable sources while the European average is 19,7%. Forerunners are Sweden (56,4%), Finland (43,1%), and Latvia (41%). The Netherlands (8,8%), Malta (8,5%), and Luxembourg (7%) even have lower scores than Belgium.
In 2020, Belgium had to get 13% of its energy from renewable sources, but it does not meet this goal. Despite the promises of the previous Energy Minister, Marie-Christine Marghem (MR). The country was expected to end up with 11,68%, but the final figures are even worse: ‘only’ 9,9%.
“The heritage of the previous government will cost us dearly,” Van der Straeten said earlier. “Due to the half-hearted energy policy and permanent uncertainty, we did not invest enough in new green energy production. This short-sighted and indecisive attitude brought us into this situation. Only vision and expertise will bring us back on course.”
In addition to that, most European countries had already met or approached their national targets. Belgium, however, is still far from its set goal of 13%. The European target is 20%.
According to the new Belgian Federal Minister of Energy, Tinne Van der Straeten (Groen), these bad figures result from the last few years’ half-hearted policies. “Only Wallonia meets its targets,” she says. “We definitely need to join forces,” she adds.
Flanders has the largest shortage (1 800 GWh). In Wallonia, there is a surplus (1 465 GWh). It will be the only part of Belgium to meet its European green energy targets.
To avoid European fines, credits to close the gap have to be bought in other European member states, which could cost up to 31 million euros. Member states producing enough green energy can sell their surpluses. Spain, Greece, Bulgary, Italy, Denmark, and Estonia, among others, have green surplus energy.
When it comes to producing wind energy at sea, Belgium is a global player, though. And 2020, in particular, was a record year for Belgium. Van der Straeten, therefore, wants to focus on wind parks at sea to increase production. She’s also considering supporting a Danish energy plug project at the North Sea, which – in the long term – could be productive for Belgium.
Belgium has the ambition to double and accelerate energy production at sea up to 4 GW in the coming period. It’s a way of catching up and contribute to the European target in the future.