30% of Belgian electricity produced in 2023 was renewable

In Belgium, 2023 was a good year for wind and solar energy production, accounting for 27,6% of the total of 30,1% of renewable energies with sources such as biomass and waste included. At the same time, production from nuclear (31,29%) and gas power plants (19,8%) fell significantly. That’s clear from the latest statistics of the German Fraunhofer ISE, Europe’s largest solar research institute.

However, in the ‘dark and rainy’ month of November 2023, the Belgian nuclear power stations accounted for 49% of the Belgian electricity mix, according to the latest figures of the Belgian Nuclear Forum. This means that nuclear energy remains an essential source of low-carbon electricity.

In addition to nuclear energy, a significant amount of the Belgian electricity (29,5%) was generated from wind energy in November 2023. Together, nuclear energy (49%) and renewable energy (36%) ensured that 85% of Belgian electricity was low-carbon in November 2023. During the same month, fossil energy – mainly gas – represented 15% of Belgian electricity and no less than 87% of CO2 emissions for Belgian electricity production.

Energy import

It is striking that in November 2023, we had to import about 9% of our electricity consumption from our neighboring countries, while in previous years, we had always been a net exporter of electricity.

In 2022, wind and solar production increased and broke several records. On May 11th, 2022, Belgium reached an absolute production record for wind and solar energy of 7 112 MW.

Record production

According to figures from the Energy-charts.info site, which relays data compiled by the European Network of Electricity Transmission System Operators, solar panels and onshore and offshore wind turbines produced 21,3 TWh over the last twelve months, or 0,8 TWh more than in 2022. 

In 2022, wind and solar energy production increased to 17,4 TWh (compared to 15,2 TWh in 2021). This was mainly due to the progressive increase in installed production capacity for onshore wind (+14%) and solar energy (+35%). Offshore wind energy production remained stable in 2022.

Doel 3 and Tihange 2

Total solar energy production increased significantly in 2022 to 6 412 GWh annually, or 37% more than in 2021. A new production record of 936 GWh was reached in July 2022. A daily record was also broken in 2022: on June 14th, the most significant amount of solar energy ever was produced in Belgium, namely 41 GWh.

February 2022 was a very windy month. A new monthly offshore record was set in the Belgian North Sea of 1 003 GWh. In February 2022, the monthly production record was broken with 677 GWh onshore wind energy production. Annual production was 4 376 GWh, 9,9% more than in 2021. If we add up the on- and offshore wind production, a new record was set on December 28th, 2022, with a total daily production of 105,2 GWh.

In 2023, the total renewable production exceeded for the first time 30% – 30,5% to be precise –  of total Belgian electricity production, while it was only 23,1% in 2022. This spectacular increase in percentage can be explained by the rise in production of renewable sources but also by a drop in nuclear production due to the definitive shutdown of Doel 3 and Tihange 2.

Lower energy consumption

The nuclear plants produced 31,3 TWh of electricity (41,7 TWh in 2022), or 40,6% of the electricity mix last year (47% in 2022). The production of gas power plants also fell sharply, from 20 TWh in 2022 to 15,2 TWh in 2023.

To cover Belgian consumption, which has been generally declining for two years and the surge in energy prices following the war in Ukraine, Belgium produced 77 TWh of electricity last year (and imported 3,2 TWh), while the country reached 88,6 TWh a year earlier, from which we have to deduct 5,8 TWh, our country being a net exporter in 2022.

In 2022, electricity consumption decreased by 3,3% compared to 2021. Due to high energy prices, consumers reduce their consumption. In addition to the price, the weather also influences electricity consumption. The average monthly cost per MWh on the day-ahead market was historically high (€245/MWh) in 2022.

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