This summer, an agreement with Engie was however reached so that Tihange 3 and Doel 4, the youngest reactors, are operational for the winter of 2026-27.
And for ten years. This would allow us to maintain a nuclear production capacity of 2 gigawatts alongside production which will therefore have to be done differently, from alternative energies. Can we avoid the specter of a blackout that everyone fears one day? “Yes”, replies Elia’s spokesman, Jean Fassiaux. “Elia” is the operator of the electricity transmission network in Belgium. “We are in constant discussions with the government about the electricity supply.”
He recalled that the CRM mechanism had been created. This capacity remuneration mechanism on the Belgian market is one of the measures of the energy strategy put in place by the federal authorities. This strategy provides for new measures that guarantee the country’s security of supply in the long term. “A first auction took place at D-4 years. The second will take place at D-1 year, in 2024”.
“Risk 0 does not exist”
During the first auction, two projects were selected. They concern the creation of a gas-fired power station in Awirs and another in Vilvoorde. “The second auction will focus on less heavy investments, which take less time to make”. It will relate to the battery storage system, in particular. “We are obviously aware that this is a famous bet. Today, nuclear power represents between 40 and 50% of electricity production, but we will not have a blackout,” continues the Elia spokesperson.
The maximum capacity to ensure in Belgium? “It is 13 MWh at one point. This applies to winter days, at peak times, between 7 and 9 a.m. in the morning and 6 and 8 p.m. in the evening. There has never been a blackout in Belgium. Even three winters ago, when only one of the seven reactors was operating due to maintenance issues and cracks. We had found a solution”.
It was not even necessary to set up a load shedding system, where the electricity would have been cut off at such and such a place to relieve the network. “Even that, there has never been Belgium. There is almost no chance that we will ever find ourselves completely in the dark”.
Unless… if a country or an organization decides to attack all our production units at the same time. ” No risk does not exist… “