Belgium’s Flanders region raises 2020 targets for solar and wind

The Energy Minister of the Belgian Flemish-speaking microregion of Flanders, Bart Tommelein, has announced that EU targets for solar and wind power will be increased by one third in order to cover the missing power production that was expected to be ensured by a 556 MW biomass power plant located in Langerlo, for which its owners have recently declared bankruptcy.

Tommelein said that, in order to reach the region’s 2020 renewable energy target, an additional 1,418 GWh is now needed and that solar and wind will fill this gap. The missing power production represents 5% of total power generation that the Belgian region must reach in order to achieve the EU targets, which envisage 25,074 GWh of renewable energy by 2020.

In 2016, the Flemish government had set a target of 2,670 GWh for solar by 2020. This will be raised to 3,544 GWh.

In addition, Tommelein said that its government has also changed the duration of support for mid-sized solar and wind power projects by stretching it from 15 to 20 years for wind and reducing it from 15 to 10 years for solar. The change of the duration of support, however, will not reduce the support levels, just the period over which the support is awarded.

Support for PV systems above 10 kW is in the form of tradeable green certificates. Per MWh these would be worth about €65 to €67 for systems between 10 kW and 750 kW. PV systems above 750kW get a project specific support level.

The local solar association PV-Vlaanderen has welcomed the new targets and the “technical corrections” that were made for the duration of support, claiming that these will improve investment conditions for solar and wind. “The 10 years support for solar is meant to increase the feasibility of third party financing of rooftop solar on small and medium enterprises,” the association told pv magazine.

“These technical modifications,” the association’s director Bram Claeys added, “are a much-needed breath of fresh air for investors in middle sized rooftop solar projects. At the same time we need to see more fundamental measures to go above and beyond current projections of renewables for 2020, so we have a shot at closing the gap towards the Belgian renewables target.”

Flanders had 2,451 MW of installed PV power at the end of 2016. Last year, new additions totaled 103 MW. According to local renewable energy association Apere, the newly installed PV power in Flanders for 2016 is mostly represented by residential and commercial installations. This trend will likely be confirmed in 2017.

According to numbers released by local power distributors Eandis and Infrax, 16,863 new PV installations were registered in the period between January and May 2017, thus almost doubling the number of new registrations of the same period in the past year, which was 8,840.