Wind and solar account for almost 20% of Belgium’s electricity mix

Last year, renewable energy production continued to increase in Belgium, with several broken records. According to figures published by high-voltage grid operator Elia, in 2022, there was a gradual increase in the installed capacity of onshore wind power (+14%) and solar energy (+35ia. As a result, wind and solar power accounted for 19,8% of the electricity mix in 2022.

Wind and photovoltaic production reached 17,4 TWh (terawatt-hours), compared with 15,2 TWh in 2021. Offshore wind accounted for 7,5% of the electricity generation mix last year (compared with 7,3% in 2021), onshore wind for 5% (4,3% in 2021), and solar for 7,3 (compared with 5,1%).

More onshore wind and solar installations

Together, these renewable energy sources account for 19,8% of the electricity mix, up from 16,7% in 2021. The increase was driven by the increased capacity of onshore wind (+14%) and solar (+35%).

Offshore wind power – Belgium counts eight wind farms in the North Sea – thus has remained stable: no increase in the production capacity of offshore wind farms is planned before 2027-2028. However, only Denmark and the UK cover a larger share of electricity demand with offshore wind energy. Belgium is thus in the European top three in terms of share of offshore wind energy in electricity demand.

New record production

On 11 May, there was a new absolute record of total solar and wind power generation (7 112 megawatts, MW). This represents 67% of total consumption on a quarter-hourly basis and the consumption of 7 million Belgians.

According to Elia, half of Belgium’s consumption is not often covered by renewable energy sources. Year after year, however, it is becoming more common. In 2022, this was the case 4% of the time. That is twice as often as in 2021.

July then recorded another production record for solar power (936 gigawatt-hours, GWh).

February was the record month for offshore and onshore wind turbines in wind power, with 1 003 GWh and 677 GWh, respectively. Onshore, the annual record was broken; offshore, there was a 2% drop. For all North Sea and onshore wind turbines combined, 28 December was a new record day, with 105,2 GWh of daily production.

Consumption down

Overall, electricity consumption in Belgium fell by 3,3% to 81,7 TWh last year compared to 2021. However, due to high energy prices, consumers reduced their consumption.

The average monthly price for electricity, for instance, was historically high on the day-ahead market, with 245 euros per MWh. The peak was in August, with a historical record of 448,1 euros. In the corona year 2020, prices were still historically low, averaging 31,9 euros per MWh and even 14,7 euros in April that year.

Nuclear power remained the court supplier in Belgium, although its share in the electricity mix in Belgium fell below half to 47,3% (52,2% in 2021). Nuclear plants supplied 41,8 TWh. Gas plants accounted for 26,9% of the electricity mix (23,8 TWh).

There were more exports than imports of electricity for the fourth time in a row last year. This represented net exports of 6,6 TWh.

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