Vilvoorde power station ready to make up potential shortages
A new gas-fired power station in Vilvoorde could do much to ease electricity problems this winter brought on by the closure of three nuclear power reactors
The Vilvoorde plant (pictured) has in recent months been transformed from closed-cycle to open cycle, which required the construction of a new chimney. The station is now capable of producing 265 megawatts (MW) of energy when required.
The federal government aims to construct a strategic reserve of 850 MW to cope with peaks in demand. The German-owned E.ON would produce 750 MW between its Vilvoorde plant and one in Seraing in Wallonia. The remaining 100 MW would come from large consumers who have committed to reducing their own consumption at peak moments.
Belgium will be dependent on imports throughout the winter, according to a report produced by the European association of grid managers ENTSO-E. “Each week could be potentially critical," the report says.
In Europe as a whole, there is enough capacity to meet demand, even in the case of severe winter weather, the report states. Some countries, like Belgium, will be dependent on imports.
The problem will be seen during severely cold weather, when the import requirement will reach 3.6 gigawatts, far higher than Belgium’s strategic reserve can handle. The critical moment will be reached at minus six degrees, with wind power operating at only 20%, according to simulations.
Photo courtesy De Standaard
employees in 2013
production capacity in megawatts in 2013
millions customers in 2013