Belgium is making commendable progress towards a clean and sustainable energy future. Energy intensity has recently declined, as have greenhouse gas emissions. Measures have been implemented to promote energy efficiency.Public funding for energy R&D has risen substantially. Energy security measures have been reinforced for different fuels, and an integrated emergency response policy is under development. Market reforms are advancing in both the electricity and gas sectors. Belgian energy policies are playing an increasingly important role in ensuring energy security not only in the country but also in northwest Europe. The country’s strategic location makes it an important transit hub for natural gas, oil and electricity.
Nevertheless, challenges remain. A comprehensive, national strategy is needed to stimulate investment and adequately address energy security and climate change concerns. The Belgian position on the phase out of nuclear power should be reconsidered. The government should also try, through increased market transparency and streamlined planning procedures, to ensure that investment in new generation capacity is an attractive option for new players as well as incumbents. The overlapping responsibilities of the federal and regional governments reduce the cost-effectiveness of policies.
This review analyses the energy challenges facing Belgium and provides critiques and recommendations for further policy improvements. It is intended to serve as a guide as the country continues on its way towards a more sustainable energy future.