The Brussels electricity network is robust and well functioning, and is of sufficient size to adapt to our growing electricity needs in the coming years.
With electric vehicles, heat pumps and photovoltaic panels: the energy landscape is evolving at lightning speed... And electricity is playing an increasingly important role in meeting today's needs and those of tomorrow!
We receive a large number of questions relating to this trend towards electrification. Is the Brussels network able to support this trend? Will investments be necessary in the years to come?
The good news is that the Brussels network is sufficiently robust and well functioning to support this evolution in the coming years. And Sibelga is already anticipating longer-term needs.
The Brussels network is ready for the next few years
At present, the Brussels electricity network (low and medium voltage) is robust and has sufficient reserve capacity to meet our changing needs in the coming years.
Due to the characteristics of our urban environment, there are notably far fewer photovoltaic panels in Brussels than in Flanders or Wallonia. This greatly limits the risk of congestion (i.e. the saturation of our network) currently facing our Walloon and Flemish counterparts.
Sibelga is anticipating the future
As manager of the gas and electricity distribution networks and the municipal public lighting, Sibelga has a duty to anticipate changes in the energy use of Brussels customers. In addition, we want to facilitate an affordable and inclusive energy transition in the Brussels-Capital Region and support the ambitions of the Region's Air-Climate-Energy Plan.
This is why we have started to build several scenarios to achieve carbon neutrality in 2050, whether in terms of mobility, heating (via heat pumps in particular), renewable energy (photovoltaic, renewable gases such as green hydrogen and biomethane) and storage... And we are doing this in collaboration with all the Brussels stakeholders.
In addition, with a view to a low-carbon economy, Sibelga has also completed an initial study on the role that its gas network could play in the distribution of hydrogen to cover heating needs, in parallel with electric heating (heat pumps).
What investments will be required ?
Sibelga is currently working on an initial estimate of the reinforcement needs of its networks, the results of which are expected by the end of 2022.
As well as strengthening the network, the use of smart and management technologies will also help to limit the risk of congestion and the costs. For example, the introduction of dynamic prices, made possible by the increased installation of smart meters starting in 2023, could encourage customers to delay their consumption to times when energy is available in abundance.
In all cases, in its multi-year development plans, Sibelga, together with the regulator Brugel, will ensure that it chooses solutions that are accessible to all Brussels customers, while maintaining the reliability and security of energy distribution.