IES Policy Forum coming up!

Environmental Policy Forum

Benelux: Test case for Europe’s energy transition

Date, Place

12:00-14:30, Institute for European Studies, Pleinlaan 5, 1050 Brussel

The Institute for European Studies, in cooperation with the Institute for European Environmental Policy, kindly invite you to attend the upcoming policy forum on – Date – with:

  • Dominique Gusbin, Federal Planning Bureau (BE)
  • Machiel Mulder, Benelux Association for Energy Economics
  • Pierre Schlosser, Eurelectric
  • Speaker on Flanders

Europe’s power system is in transition: From 2014 onward, the diverse national power systems should be integrated in one single market which interconnects about 500 million consumers and allows to trade electricity freely across Europe. Besides, large scale integration of renewables into the power system constitutes a factor, which increasingly stimulates modification of Europe’s power system: Due to national limitations for absorbing large volumes of intermittent renewables like wind and solar power at peak hours, network fluctuations will increase and exacerbate cross border exchange of electricity. The European electric power industries therefore face the challenge to operate in an environment which progressively demands changes in the way electricity is generated, internationally traded and provided to the consumer. The complexity of these changes makes long term political decisions and investments into the energy system more insecure than ever.

It is therefore time for a deeper look into the regional interplay between the different components of the European energy system. The Benelux countries provide an excellent test case in this respect, since they constitute the intersection point of two main components of Europe’s future energy system: France with its massive nuclear energy sector and Northern Europe (together with Germany) with its high share of renewables on the other. Moreover, with the ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp this group of countries is connected with the world’s markets for all sorts of energy carriers – traditional e.g. coal, or innovative, e.g. biomass. Altogether this makes the Benelux countries an ideal testing ground for the dynamics of the European energy system. Special attention in this respect is warranted to the case of Belgium, which recently committed itself to phase out nuclear power until 2025, which is a formidable task regarding the country’s limited capacity for renewable energy.

Against this background, the speakers at the IES Environmental Policy Forum will discuss the last developments of European energy policy, its regional implications for the Benelux countries, and the implications of Belgium’s nuclear phase-out in this respect. Thereby the speakers will address the following questions:

  • Energy policy in Europe: Do the different pieces fit together?
  • Nuclear and renewables: What model for the Benelux countries?
  • Belgium’s nuclear phase-out: What alternatives to atomic energy?
  • Flanders/Wallonia: Renewables still be operational in the Internal Electricity Market?

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