The Largest Electric Battery Project in Continental Europe

By ENGIE - 19 January 2024 - 16:26

In Vilvoorde, on the outskirts of Brussels (Belgium), ENGIE's future 200-megawatt battery park will be capable of meeting the electricity consumption needs of nearly 96,000 households by 2025.


Infrastructure development work commenced immediately after the official announcement of the project's selection on October 30th, 2023, by the Belgian electricity grid operator, Elia. The new battery park will span three hectares within the 30-hectare area covered by the Vilvoorde gas power plant. “[The site] has ample space and excellent electrical grid connectivity,” says Quentin Renoy, BESS Business Developer at ENGIE Belgium. Located north of Brussels, the Vilvoorde site has been dedicated to electricity generation since the 1960s. But in the Belgian spirit, it is transitioning towards greener energy. Auctions are being conducted within the Belgian CRM (Capacity Remuneration Mechanism) framework to ensure sufficient network supply from the winter of 2027-2028 onwards.

A Fully Operational Battery Park by Late October 2025

Following standard civil engineering transformations, the site will accommodate battery containers (80 rows of 35-meter modules) and necessary electrical installations, which will then be connected to the high-voltage grid.

Organized in two phases of 100 MW construction, each spaced three months apart, the project will be operational by the end of July 2025, with its phase 2 expected to conclude by late October 2025. “Until now, we've been testing the technology with pilot projects like the Battery Park in Drogenbos, on the southern outskirts of Brussels,” explains Quentin Renoy. With the Vilvoorde project, ENGIE is scaling up this technology industrially. It is the first time that such a large-scale project has been launched in Europe, outside the UK. To bring it to fruition, the Group is investing between 230 and 290 million euros.


A One ENGIE Project

ENGIE estimates that the Vilvoorde battery park will eventually supply electricity to nearly 96,000 households. “The success of this project is a concrete manifestation of One ENGIE. It's not just the result of the work of the teams in charge of Flexible generation but also involves public relations teams, GEMS (Global Energy Management & Sales: market analysis, traders), and support teams – including the legal department,” says Quentin Renoy. The battery park is contracted for 15 years with Elia, the national grid operator, ensuring a steady income over an extended period.

Given the current limitations of green energy capacities, the reliance on other energy sources remains necessary. Hence, on October 30th, Belgian authorities also announced that ENGIE's former gas power plant in Vilvoorde would serve as a backup plant for an initial three years, and extendable thereafter. This double success within the CRM framework ensures a future for ENGIE's historic site in Belgium.

Initiated in 2021 for a ten-year period, CRM auctions take place annually. ENGIE plans to explore the valorization of its sites in Kallo (near Antwerp) and Drogenbos with new battery park projects starting as early as 2024.