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Renewable energy generation in the Brussels Region

Renewable energy equals energy that does not affect any “stocks”. The potential in terms of renewable energy generation within the Region's territory is very limited.
In 2011, the gross generation of energy from renewable sources in the Brussels-Capital Region amounted to 364 GWh.
The largest proportion of the electricity and heat/cold generated in the Region comes from the exploitation of biomass (91% and 75% respectively). Biofuels represent the key source of renewable energy for transport (72% in 2011).

Context

Renewable energy is energy which exploitation doesn't affect any “stocks” (solar radiation, wind power, geothermal heat, run-of-the-river hydroelectricity, ocean waves). From an environmental perspective, this type of energy is mainly fruitful because it cuts down the use of fossil fuels and its resulting emissions. This contributes to the initiatives set to meet the Kyoto protocol as well as to the other commitments on a European and international level aimed at reducing the greenhouse gas emissions after 2012.

Renewable energy in the Brussels Region

The Brussels-Capital Region is a small and densely populated area. Hence, the potential in terms of renewable energy generation on this territory is very limited. Since a couple of years, however, the Region has seen a promising evolution, illustrated for instance by the gross generation of energy from renewable sources on its territory, which was estimated at 364 GWh in 2011.

Renewable energy generated on the territory of the Brussels-Capital Region (based on the definition in directive 2009/28/EC): evolution of the amount generated broken down by application
Source: Regional energy balances for the years 2011 and 2012 (inventories reported in 2013 and 2014)

Renewable energy generated on the territory of the Brussels-Capital Region (based on the definition in directive 2009/28/EC): evolution of the amount generated broken down by application

1. Renewable energy

There are two circuits which ensure the steadily increasing generation of electricity from renewable energy sources: biomass and solar panels.
The majority of the electricity generated from renewable sources within the BCR comes from the exploitation of biomass, which can take various shapes:

  • Solid: waste, specifically the organic fraction of the white bags which are treated by the waste incinerator of Neder-Over-Heembeek (the incinerator is connected to a turbine with a capacity of 45 MW). In 2011, this method was used to treat nearly 473,000 tonnes of household waste, the organic fraction of which amounted to 53% according to a content analysis of the bin bags. This generated approximately 65 GWh of renewable energy.
  • Fluid: rapeseed oil which is used in cogeneration plants;
  • Gaseous: gas derived from sewage sludge on the site of wastewater treatment plant North, which is run by Aquiris and where part of the Region's waste water is treated. This gas is also used in cogeneration plants.

In 2011, the Brussels Region had 10 cogeneration plants that relied on renewable energy sources (biofluid and/or biogas) for its operation.
Since 2007, electricity generation through solar panels has been on the rise. More than 7,500 MWh was reportedly generated in 2011, accounting for 9% of the generation of renewable electricity in the BCR.

Evolution of the aggregate capacity and of the total generation through solar panels in the Brussels Region
Source: Regional energy balance for the year 2011 (inventory reported in 2013)

Evolution of the aggregate capacity and of the total generation through solar panels in the Brussels Region

2. Renewable heat

The renewable circuits for heat (and cold) generation in the Brussels-Capital Region are solar energy, biomass (fluid, solid and gaseous) and heat pumps. Solid biomass constitutes the primary source (67% in 2011). The amount of energy generated for heating purposes is logically linked to weather conditions.

Evolution of the regional circuits for the gross generation of heat/cold from renewable energy sources in the Brussels Region
Source: Regional energy balance for the year 2011 (inventory reported in 2013)

As a reminder: the higher the number of heating degree days (HDD 15-15), the colder the year

Renewable energy used for transport in the Brussels Region: total generation and generation circuits (2011)

 

3. Renewable energy in the transport sector
The principal source (72% in 2011) of renewable energy used for transport is “biodiesel” as found in the vehicle fuels sold at the pump.

Renewable energy used for transport in the Brussels Region: total generation and generation circuits (2011)
Source: Regional energy balance for the year 2011 (inventory reported in 2013)

Renewable energy used for transport in the Brussels Region: total generation and generation circuits (2011)

Renewable energy and the gross final energy consumption

European Directive 2009/28/EC sets a target of 20% for the share of energy from renewable sources in the gross final energy consumption by 2020. The efforts were divided among the different member states according to the characteristics of their economy. Belgium has a target of 13% renewable energy. The share of the Brussels Region in this Belgian effort has not yet been determined.
In 2011, 1.75% of the Region's gross final consumption came from renewable energy (as defined in Directive 2009/28/EC). This share has been increasing since 2006.

Evolution of the share of renewable energy (as defined in directive 2009/28/EC) in the gross final energy consumption of the Brussels Region
Source: Regional energy balances for the year 2011 (inventory reported in 2013)

Evolution of the share of renewable energy (as defined in directive 2009/28/EC) in the gross final energy consumption of the Brussels Region

Date de mise à jour: 23/01/2018