According to the electricity grid manager Elia, in 2020, solar and wind power production output increased by 31% compared to 2019. This renewable energy was generated from onshore and offshore wind projects combined with solar power. The output increased to 15.1TWh in 2020 from 11.5TWh in 2019, which led to 18.6% of the total power production mix.
Elia said that good weather plays a significant role in the generation of wind and solar energy. For instance, there are strong winds in winter that led to the production of more wind power, while the sun is shining in summer help to generate more solar power. In 2019, the production figures show that the month of June was the month with the highest power generation of 504 gigawatts-hours. In 2020, May was the top month leading in power production with 683 gigawatts-hours. Solar and wind power exceeded the total energy generation by 50% in 2020.
On the other hand, nuclear power has a less share of the total electricity production with a total of 39.1% compared to 48.7% in 2019. When it comes to electricity exports and imports, 2020 was a neutral year. The year had a minimal amount of net exports and no net imports, going against the imports’ tendency. That is, imports tend to be high anytime nuclear generation is low. This was attributed to high renewables output and Covid-19 measures to curb its spread, such as lockdowns.
Elia said that in 2020 the total power usage was minimal compared to other years, which was 81TWh. This was 7% below average in comparison to the last five years. Elia added that during the lockdowns, the power usage rate was 25% below regular consumption at certain day times. In August 2020, the power usage was back up to, and sometimes above average for the last five years, mainly because of the heat-wave. It is essential to note that electricity loads heavily depends on whether. Therefore, it is hard to ascertain the decrease caused due to the coronavirus pandemic. Compared to the last five years, 2020 was on average warmer, contributing to the reduction in power consumption.
The COVID-19 problem has contributed, as in other nations, to a rapid decline in generation capacity in Belgium. Around the same time, in the second quarter of 2020, the generation of energy from renewable energy hit peak peaks. Together, these elements have induced a large rise in the number of hours of low spot rates for energy. The strategy of State assistance of the European Commission seeks to withhold subsidies for energy generated at times of adverse spot prices. What effect the rising amount of hours at negative rates would have on ventures remains to be seen.
The COVID-19 situation also risked disrupting the implementation of initiatives involving green energy. A delay in implementation carries some risk of the lost opportunity of subsidies in the Flemish Region. To address the fact that the Flemish Government has given 120 days of what is essentially the deadline for commissioning before losing the right to its existing level of funding.