The Belgian energy sector is dominated by a high share of nuclear power, while the use of renewables had limited growth during the last 20 years.13 Belgium started from a very low share of 1.1 % in 1990 and increased to 5.3 % in 2008, a
very modest increase in the past 18 years. In 2010, the renewables share has slightly decreased and reached 4.63 %.
According to Eurostat sources, hydropower plants generated 0.62 % of the total electricity generated in the country in 2012, an increase of 20 % with respect to 2010. With respect to other countries, Belgium occupies the post number 108 after Madagascar and ahead of Guinea. With respect to other European countries, Belgium occupies the post number 28 behind Ireland and ahead of Hungary. Belgium regional share in the generation of electricity using hydropower is 0.08 %.
From the technical point of view, the potential use of hydropower plants for the generation of electricity has been estimated at 0.5 TWh per year, but only 0.3 TWh per year can be considered economically exploitable.
Hydropower Installed Capacity
In 2012, the total installed hydroelectric capacity in the country reached 129 MW; this represents an increase of 4 % with respect to 2011.14 The capacity installed in hydropower plants represents 2.28 % of the total renewables capacity installed in the country in 2012; this represents a decrease of 0.42 % with respect to 2011. The evolution of the hydropower installed capacity during the period 2003–2012 is shown in Fig. 3.11.
According to Fig. 3.11, the hydropower capacity in Belgium increased, during the period 2003–2012, in 16.2 %. The government expects that this trend will continue during the coming years, but in a limited manner due to the existence of limited hydropower capacity.
Hydropower Electricity Generation
The evolution of the electricity generation in Belgium using hydropower plants during the period 2008–2012 is shown in Fig. 3.12.
During the period 2008–2011, the generation of electricity in Belgium using hydropower plants decreased 52.3 %. After 2011, the generation increased 90 %. It is expected that the use of hydropower plants for the generation of electricity will continue to increase during the coming years, with the purpose of reducing the use of other energy sources, particularly oil and nuclear energy, for this spe- cific purpose. However, the role of hydropower in the generation of electricity in Belgium will continue to be small in comparison with other renewable energy sources use for this specific purpose.
The forecast of the participation of the different renewable energy sources in the generation of electricity in Belgium for 2020 is shown in Fig. 3.13.
From Fig. 3.13, it can be stated that hydropower will have the smallest role in comparison with other renewables to be used in Belgium for the generation of electricity until 2020 (0.5 %).