The Doel 3 nuclear reactor was shut down last September in line with the government's decision to phase out nuclear power by 2025. It's a risky bet, given that half of the country's electricity is powered by nuclear power plants. And while renewable energies are developing, in 2021 they represented only 13% of the energy mix. Let's take a look at their impact today and how each of us can participate in creating a more energy-efficient world !
What are renewable energies?
Renewable energies are energies whose regenerative capacity is faster than the consumption we make of them. Some of them are also clean energies with very little or no pollution. If an energy source is both renewable and clean, then it is said to be "green". Among the main sources of green energy are wind, solar, hydro and geothermal energy. Faced with the depletion of fossil resources and out of ecological concerns, the use of these energies is becoming more and more frequent. In Belgium, they were used for 3% of the energy mix in 2006 and finally reached 13% in 2021. The planned nuclear phase-out in the coming years and the European Union's goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 should only accelerate the growth of renewable energies in the country. In fact, the composition of the energy mix does not affect the consumer's daily life. Its heating will work in the same way whether the electricity comes from a nuclear reactor or a wind turbine. But the growing interest in environmental issues is pushing citizens to want to influence the general trend. That's why they're investing in the renewable energy market.
Investing in renewable energy
Choosing a green energy supplier is an option that is often ignored by citizens. However, suppliers such as Cociter (Comptoir Citoyen des Énergies), Ecopower and Wase Wind produce mostly green electricity. Some suppliers offer "100% green" offers with "guarantee of origin labels". These labels are used to attest to the green origin of the electricity distributed, but only part of this electricity comes from a renewable source. However, it is still possible for consumers to find out more about green suppliers, for example by consulting the ranking established by Greenpeace.
Some individuals or companies have opted for another option: producing green energy themselves. To do this, they install solar panels and water heaters or heat pumps. Specialist installers such as the start-up Skysun offer to create photovoltaic power plants for companies. At the same time, public authorities are putting in place measures to support the production of green energy. In particular, the Brussels-Capital Region has introduced an energy premium. The investment involved in the installation of renewable energies can therefore be amortized. The double advantage of this type of aid is to boost the green energy sector while promoting job creation in this sector in Brussels.
Reduce energy consumption
Renewable energy is certainly less polluting than fossil fuels, but the most environmentally friendly measure is still energy saving. Adding a few (more or less) simple gestures to your habits allows you to considerably reduce your consumption. Everyone can consider thermal insulation, optimise their heating and lighting, and choose energy-efficient household appliances.
Energy, whether green or grey, is an integral part of our daily lives. In order to minimize the negative impact of fossil fuels on the environment, investing in renewable energies and reducing its overall consumption seems more necessary than ever. So, are you up for the challenge?
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