Belgium: Flemish government to improve conditions for “direct lines” for renewables

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The Energy Minister of the Belgian Flemish-speaking macro-region of Flanders, Bart Tommelein, has announced another measure to further support solar and renewable energies: the improvement of the conditions to secure private PPAs for the supply of green energy.

According to him, in fact, although it is currently theoretically possible to sign PPAs for the supply of clean energies in Flanders, too many restrictions are hindering this market segment from seeing more activity.

“At present, the sale of electricity to a final customer located at a site which is not on the same area of the power generator is already possible, but only in regions where the distribution network is not strong enough,” Tommelein stated. “As our network is pretty well equipped for all Flander’s customers, this opportunity is hardly taken advantage of,” he added.

Tommelein also stressed that the creation of direct lines will enable industrial customers and public entities to considerably lower their energy bills, as they have do not have to pay grid-fees for the power they buy from renewable energy producers through direct lines (Directe lijn).

He added, however, that a small grid-fee per MWh will have to be paid by customers that resort to a direct line. More details on how current rules may be improved were not provided.

The “direct line” business model is seeing a robust development in Italy, under the country’s regulation for self-consumption.

Flanders currently hosts 73% of Belgium’s installed PV capacity, while 57% of the Flemish installations are small systems (≤ 10 kW) entitled to net metering. In 2017, the Flemish residential solar market grew by 193 MW, according to renewable association, APERe, emerging as the main driver behind the country’s strong growth.