The Federatie van de Belgische Elektriciteits (the Belgian Federation of Energy Companies or FEBEG) is playing an important role in keeping Belgium’s energy sector strong. General Manager Marc Van den Bosch discusses FEBEG’s current projects and priorities.
European Times: What are FEBEG’s main activities?
Marc Van den Bosch: Around 90% of Belgium’s energy players are members of FEBEG, and the federation is a committed advocate for the energy sector in discussions with regulators and with national and local governments. We are currently focusing on three main areas: promoting renewable-energy solutions, ensuring the continuity of investment in the energy sector, and ensuring sufficient capacity in the market to supply demand for energy. FEBEG’s role in tackling these issues is to facilitate communication flows between its members and relevant government bodies, regulators and other organisations within the energy market.
European Times: What are some current challenges in Belgium’s energy sector?
Marc Van den Bosch: The main challenges which the federation is tackling at the moment have to do with the investment climate for renewable energies as well as for traditional installations, and the size of the energy bill for consumers.
European Times: How is Belgium doing in achieving energy security?
Marc Van den Bosch: Belgium has never run short of adequate energy, even during crisis periods, and its energy supplies are secure. In fact, Belgium will reach full capacity of its energy reserves in 2016-2017, even though the country has an energy-intensive economy.
European Times: What is FEBEG doing to promote investment in energy projects?
Marc Van den Bosch: As Belgium transitions to renewable energy, FEBEG works to promote investment in all types of “green” energies without advocating any one type over another. Another goal for the federation is to level the playing field with neighbouring countries to reduce risk for investors in “green” energies. To achieve its mission, FEBEG works closely with regulators and government administrators to reach common-sense solutions. The federation also represents Belgium in discussions with other countries and with international energy organisations, and we work especially closely with other EU energy federations. FEBEG aims to ensure that Belgium is consistent with its energy subsidies so that conditions are predictable for energy investors. The investment framework in Belgium is relatively complex. For example, offshore wind projects are subsidised at the federal level while onshore wind projects are funded at the regional level. FEBEG wants conditions for energy investment to be as favourable as possible.