Flemish Energy Minister: "Our nuclear plants are like an old car" Author: Michaël Torfs

Sat 16/12/2017 - 11:39 Michaël Torfs The Flemish Energy Minister Bart Tommelein is confident that the so-called "Energy Pact" will be sealed in the end, avoiding a political crisis. The Belgian nuclear plants are in the eye of the storm, but Tommelein makes the following comparison: "They are like an old car. You can postpone buying a new one, but in the end you will have to make the investment anyway", he argues, claiming investments in new, sustainable energy sources will have to be made in the end.

The Energy Pact outlines the Belgian energy policies for the future, until 2050. A pre-accord has been struck already, and the Walloon and Brussels government have already approved it. The Flemish and federal government are next, to make the deal complete and to seal it.

The aim is to have 40 percent of our energy supplies generated by sustainable (green) sources by 2030, and to go for 100 percent by 2050.

N-VA: "No guaranteed supplies, and a very expensive move"

The Flemish nationalists (N-VA), the biggest political player in Flanders and Belgium, is against. The report confirms the end of Belgium's old-fashioned nuclear plants by 2025 (10 years later than had been agreed almost 25 years ago), but the N-VA is afraid Belgium is not ready.

The closure of the five plants will endanger energy supplies due to lack of alternatives, and it will trigger a price hike for consumers, the N-VA argues. This is why the N-VA wants to keep (at least some of) the nuclear plants open beyond 2025. The N-VA enjoys the support of (part of) the big industrial players in Belgium.

Tommelein: "I can respond to all of the N-VA's concerns"

Supporters of the plan say alternative energy sources will only receive a real boost when there is clarity: investors will make the effort only when they are certain the nuclear story will come to an end.

Tommelein, a Flemish liberal, told the VRT that he is convinced he can respond to all the N-VA's concerns and reassure them. Tommelein, a great supporter of green, alternative energy sources, compares the nuclear plants to an old car: "You can postpone buying a new car time and again, but in the end you will have to make the investment anyway."