Green energy peaks in 2012
Until October this year applications were submitted for 34 biogas installations, 4 biomass installations, 20 wind turbines, one hydroelectric plant and no less than 149 cogeneration installations which generate both heat and electricity. These are exceptional figures. Certainly the number of initiatives in the cogeneration sector explodes, which is quite popular in the agricultural and horticultural and a number of industrial sectors. The increase in applications for biogas installations and wind turbines has however been impressive as well. Overall the Flemish energy market regulator Vreg has listed a total of 208 green energy projects to date. This number does not include solar panels, which did perform less well. This is due to the peak of the solar energy investments late last year, as consumers anticipated a drop in the price of green energy certificates and government support for green energy in 2012. The fact that the solar energy industry reacted negatively to this and even suggested that solar panels were no longer profitable did little to improve things. Until early November an additional 245 628 kilowattage in solar panels was approved. This translates as a third of last year’s total of 36 594 installations that were approved. In view of the growing number of applications for large installations, the total power supplied by green installations will also increase this year. “This proves that the new green current policy works,” said MP for the CD&V Robrecht Bothuyne after receiving the figures from Flemish energy minister Freya Van den Bossche SP.A. Shifting the focus from solar panels to other green technologies such as wind turbines was one of the key objectives of the minister’s energy policy. Federal energy regulator Creg has meanwhile consented to the proposal made by grid managers Eandis and Infrax to introduce a grid levy of approximately 53 euros for every megawatt of solar power installed. This will result in owners contributing more towards distribution costs. Alex Polfliet, president of the solar panel sector, is not happy with this proposal as he believes this amount is 20 times more than what nuclear power stations pay. “We will fight it with every possible legal means,” he said.