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The European environment – state and outlook 2010

The European environment – state and outlook 2010

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Country introduction (SOER 2010)

Energy in Belgium

Key message

Primary energy intensity has declined in Belgium since 1998, reflecting the uncoupling of economic growth and primary energy consumption.

Energy

On the whole, primary energy intensity has declined in Belgium since 1998, reflecting the uncoupling of economic growth and primary energy consumption. Buildings constitute the leading end-consumer of energy (31 % of final energy in 2007), followed by industry (30 %), one-third of which for iron and steel, and transport (23 %).

Total final energy consumption decreased at a yearly rate of 0,9 % between 2000 and 2007. Final consumption of iron and steel has continued a downward trend since 1979.

Petroleum (including petroleum products) remains the dominant source of energy (39,2 % in 2007), followed by natural gas (25,4 %), nuclear energy (21,4 %), solid fuels (7,8 %) and renewable fuels (5 %). The remaining 1,2 % are other sources used primarily to generate electricity. Petroleum covers primarily the needs of the transport and residential sectors as well as non-energy uses (feed stocks). Electricity and natural gas, on the other hand, play a major role in industry and the residential sector, while the use of solid fuels is mainly confined to the iron and steel industry.

Nuclear plants generate 54 % (2007) of electricity and classic thermal power stations 39 %; pumping power stations, hydraulic energy and renewable energy generate the remaining 7 %. The share of liquid fuels in electricity generation is declining.

Renewable energy constitutes a very small share of primary energy generation (5 % in 2007), notably due to the relatively low potential for this type of energy in Belgium (small territory and limited availability of hydraulic, geothermal and solar resources). Eventually, renewable energy, which is being developed intensely, is nevertheless expected to constitute a substantial share of primary energy generation. Wind energy in particular is being developed through numerous projects. Regarding the production of electricity, the electricity generated from renewable resources currently (2007) represents 5,4 % of primary electricity generation.