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Total energy consumption of the Region
In 2011, the Brussels Capital Region consumed 20,826 GWh. Between 2004 and 2011, all sectors combined saw an overall decrease in the total final consumption (-18%). The biggest energy consumer is the residential sector (residential buildings represented 37% of the total consumption in 2011), followed by the tertiary sector (33%) and the transport sector (26%).
An energy balance describes the amounts of energy imported, generated, transformed and consumed in the Region in the course of a particular year. The Brussels-Capital Region (BCR) has maintained this type of balance records since 1990.
Brussels energy balance
The most recent balance available in a definitive form, relates to the year 2011. Below are a few observations that characterise the Brussels Region:
- Within the Brussels-Capital Region local energy generation is marginal. The territory of the Region contains a few energy generation units, which together represented 5.5% of the supply in 2011. The main one is Electrabel's power plant in Schaerbeek. It uses the steam that is generated in the incineration plant for domestic and equivalent waste in Neder-over-Heembeek. For the remainder, energy is generated from the incineration of firewood, the exploitation of biogas produced by treatment plant North, heat pumps (HP) and thermal and photovoltaic solar installations.
- The energy supply of the Region mainly consists of natural gas (nearly 36%), fuels and other petroleum products (32%), as well as electricity (25%).
Breakdown of the total energy consumption of the Brussels-Capital Region according to the economic sector and the application (2011)
Source: Energy balance 2011 of the BCR
The allocated surface areas are proportionate to the share in the total energy consumption, of the sector or the application. The figures are expressed in GWh x 10³
In 2011, the Brussels-Capital Region consumed 20,825.5 GWh. The biggest energy consumer is the residential sector (residential buildings, 37% in 2011), followed by the tertiary sector (33%) and the transport sector (26%). The latter is an estimate based on the Belgian sales figures for vehicle fuels, which were divided across the three regions.
Evolution of the Brussels energy balance
Evolution of the actual annual energy consumption between 1990 and 2011, for the Brussels-Capital Region, with and without climatic correction
Source: Energy balances of the Brussels-Capital Region
(LCV: this calculation takes into account the lowest combustion value of each fuel type, in other words the amount of thermal energy that is released per unit of mass during the fuel combustion)
With regard to the evolution: the total end consumption for all sectors combined, saw an overall decrease between 2004 and 2011 (-18%).
Compared to 1990, the Brussels' energy consumption fell by 2% in 2011. This trend can be attributed largely to the reduced energy consumption in residential buildings (-10%) and in the industrial sector (-37%) as opposed to the tertiary sector (+6%) and the transport sector (+6%).
The consumption, primarily by the residential sector and to a lesser extent by the tertiary sector (and in the case of the Brussels-Capital Region even by the industrial sector), is closely linked to the climate variations, since these have a decisive impact on the heating requirements.
The “climatic correction” of the energy consumption enables us to estimate the consumption at a constant climate (in this case compared to the climate of 1990). This estimate, intended to expose the impact of the meteorological characteristics on the relevant year, demonstrates that the energy consumption in the Brussels Region has shown a decreasing trend since 2004. The years 2008 until 2010, for instance, which are characterised by a higher consumption than the years 2007 and 2011, were indeed colder.
The evolution of the consumption is also the result of other economic evolutions, such as the ones that are linked to the prices on the energy markets. At a constant climate, the decrease in energy consumption as it is demonstrated by the observations from the most recent years, can hence be explained by the important price increases since the autumn of 2007.
On the other hand, the evolution of the consumption is also influenced by basic trends such as:
- the evolution of the population, its standard of living and its consumption habits, and the evolution of the building stock;
- the evolution of the economic activity (production, stock, ...) and the employment that comes with it;
- the evolution of the extent and quality of the equipment of households and businesses (vehicle stock, electric and electronic equipment, ...).