Energy crisis: the Government’s plan to spend the winter | Belgium

The government on Friday approved a plan that should allow the country to spend the winter without problems in terms of energy and show solidarity with its neighbors, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo and Energy Minister Tinne Van der Straeten announced during a conference of press.

The two ministers assured that the country’s supply will not be compromised. Belgium occupies a particularly advantageous position in terms of gas supply, very little dependent on Russia. Most of the gas comes from Norway and Great Britain, and through the Zeebrugge terminal. It occupies a central place in the import and export of liquefied gas.

Help neighboring countries, including Germany

However, the uncertainty surrounding the coming winter is unprecedented due to the war in Ukraine and the current unavailability of part of the French nuclear fleet. Furthermore, if the prospects for Belgium are rather encouraging, the same is not true for all its neighbours, in particular Germany, which is especially dependent on Russian gas.

“If we can help the German economy, it is in our interest, because we avoid a general slowdown in the economy in Europe,” Van der Straeten said.

Extend Tihange 2

Among the actions put in place is a request to energy producing companies to keep their capacity at its maximum and avoid, for example, maintenance during the winter. A request addressed to Engie Electrabel is more unexpected. The government wants to know if the operator can extend the activity of Tihange 2 during the winter. In principle, the reactor must close in February, in accordance with the nuclear exit law. The operator is requested to consult on this point with the Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (FANC) to examine the feasibility of the operation in terms of nuclear safety.

Appeal to the population: “Consume rationally”

The Prime Minister also appealed to citizens to be more sober in energy consumption. “If we want to get through the winter and help other countries to do so, we will do so through cooperation between public authorities and the private sector. But we all have a role to play. If we consume less, it will have an impact. I would like to invite everyone to consume rationally”, he said.

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