Monthly Archives: January 2023

Cutting down the tree while praising its harvest

Debate on energy security in the Belgian Parliament on 20221208

Last weekend, I came across this interesting article about a discussion about energy security (Dutch ahead) in the Belgian Federal Parliament. First some background. This discussion took place last year on December 8. The Belgian grid manager (Elia) published at that time a report that there might be a small capacity shortage in the winter of 2024 and a large capacity shortage in the winter of 2025. There was already the earlier decision to extend the life of the two youngest nuclear power reactors, but those nuclear reactors would not be available in these two winters because of maintenance necessary for their life extension. The other five nuclear reactors will be decommissioned by 2025, meaning that Belgium will enter these two winters with roughly half of its production capacity.

It therefor should not come as a surprise that some members of the Belgian Chamber of Representatives directed a lot of criticism towards the energy policy of the Prime Minister and the Minister of Energy. For example, Bert Wollants aired his fear that the lights will go out in 2025 (Dutch ahead) if we don’t keep more nuclear power reactors open. He pleaded to make a swift decision on keeping more of them open. He was not the only one who made that plea.

Then the Prime Minister had his chance to respond to the criticism. It is the first part of his response that raised my eyebrows (translated from Dutch, my emphasis):

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