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Benelux: Testing Ground for Europe’s Energy Transition

Monday, 18 March, 2013 - 12:00 to Monday, 18 March, 2013 - 14:30
Campus: Brussels Humanities, Sciences & Engineering campus
Faculty: Nieuwsbrief promoted
Karel van Miert building, Pleinlaan 5
Conference room Rome
VUB - Institute for European Studies
+ 32 2 614 80 01

The Institute for European Studies, in cooperation with the Institute for European Environmental Policy, kindly invite you to attend the upcoming policy forum on 18 March 2013 with:

  • Dominique Gusbin, Federal Planning Bureau, Belgium
  • Machiel Mulder, Benelux Association for Energy Economics, Netherlands Competition Authority (NMa) and University of Groningen
  • Pierre Schlosser, Eurelectric
  • Speaker from Vito, Unit Transition, Energy and Environment
  • Sebastian Oberthür, Academic Director of the Institute for European Studies

Europe’s power system is in transition. From 2014 onward, the diverse national power systems should be integrated in one single market, which will interconnect about 500 million consumers and allow electricity to be traded throughout Europe. Moreover, the integration of renewables increasingly stimulates modification, as the national systems are too limited to absorb large volumes of wind and solar power. Network fluctuations will therefore progressively require more cross-border exchange capacity. The European electric power industries therefore face the challenge of operating in an environment that demands change in the way electricity is generated, internationally traded and provided to the consumer. Yet the complexity of these changes makes long-term decisions about, and investments into, the energy system more insecure than ever.

It is therefore time for a deeper look at the interplay among different elements of Europe’s energy transition. Due to their geographic situation, the Benelux countries provide an excellent test case in this respect, as they interlink two main components of Europe’s power system: France with its massive nuclear sector and Northern Europe (together with Germany) with its high share of renewables. Moreover, with the ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp, this group of countries is connected to the world’s markets for all sorts of energy carriers – traditional e.g. coal, or innovative, e.g. LNG or biomass. Altogether this makes the Benelux countries an ideal testing ground for the evolving dynamics of Europe’s energy system. Special attention should be warranted to the case of Belgium, which recently committed itself to phase out nuclear power by 2025. With the country’s limited capacity for renewables, this represents a formidable challenge.

Against this background, the speakers at the IES Environmental Policy Forum will discuss the latest developments in the European energy sector, their regional implications for the Benelux countries, the implications of Belgium’s nuclear phase-out, and the future of renewables in Belgium. The speakers will specifically address the following questions:

  • Do the different pieces of European energy policy fit together?
  • What energy future for the Benelux countries in the European electricity market?
  • What alternatives to nuclear energy?
  • Will renewables be operational in the Internal Electricity Market?

The policy forum will be conducted in English and is free of charge. The forum starts with a lunch reception at 12:00 and will be followed by the presentations at 12:30. Register online!