Temporary shutdown of our plants in Belgium: an exceptional scenario
During part of November 2018, 6 of our 7 nuclear units were shut down for exceptional maintenance and repair work.
ENGIE supplies gas and electricity to two million Belgian customers (40% of the market). The ENGIE subsidiary Electrabel produces 54% of Belgium’s electricity. A large proportion of this electricity is provided by seven nuclear reactors, four in Doel and three in Tihange.
At regular intervals (every 12 or 18 months depending on the characteristics of the plant), reactors are voluntarily shut down to carry out maintenance and refuelling operations. This is a necessary step to ensure the plants continue to function properly and is planned and announced three years in advance. Sometimes, however, unplanned but essential work is requested by Belgium’s Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (AFCN).
This is what happened in 2018.
While Tihange 1 is undergoing planned maintenance work this winter, the AFCN called for work to be carried out on other plants to ensure they meet nuclear safety requirements. This work will be carried out entirely under the independent supervision of the Agency.
Our subsidiary Electrabel operates 45% of production capacity in Belgium, equivalent to 9.5 GW.
With its diverse and flexible production facilities, Electrabel is making every effort to help the authorities and ELIA, the operator responsible for security of supply in Belgium, in their task to maintain a constant balance between supply and demand. As a responsible industry player, Electrabel also wishes to do everything in its power to meet the needs of its customers this winter.
BUs offer solutions
ENGIE has already adopted a number of exceptional measures since September. Thanks essentially to the work of thermal generation teams in Belgium, almost 1,200 MW of additional production capacity have been made available.
Through our subsidiaries Global Energy Management (GEM) and Generation Europe, we can also count on our Group’s thermal and hydroelectric plants in France, the Netherlands and Germany.
Project Megawatt by the Generation Europe BU
GENERATION Europe’s Megawatt project aims to identify and implement additional production capacity at our own plants and at those of our industrial customers. This involves restarting certain power plants or installing new mobile units.
To support the launch of these facilities, we have worked with the Benelux BU to design local communication campaigns.
GENERATION Europe is continuing to seek out additional means of production.
Teams working throughout the winter
Our thermal generation plants in Belgium and neighbouring countries will be operational this winter, offering a total capacity of 11,400 MW in Belgium, France, the Netherlands and Germany. This is equivalent to the production capacity of about 12 nuclear power stations.
As a responsible company and in compliance with its legal obligations, Electrabel provides regular updates on market conditions via the website Transparency.engie.com, which covers the availability of its local production facilities, and for its customers via Engie.be/hiver.