Fact Check: how much support has already been pledged for wind and solar energy in Flanders/Belgium?


The Government of Flanders supports the production of renewable electricity with a system of green certificates. The Federal Government offers support for offshore wind turbines. Support is needed to offer investors adequate security. In addition, the social cost must be kept to a minimum.

A significant amount of support has already been pledged in recent years. This fact check gives an estimate of the total accumulated commitments of support for solar (photovoltaic energy), onshore and offshore wind. Because this support is available for ten to twenty years after the installations are commissioned, there are commitments that run through 2038.


Apart from these commitments, Flemish certificates are also awarded to biomass installations and cogeneration. We are not reviewing these in this paper.

Solar – photovoltaic energy

Flanders has awarded green certificates to photovoltaic installations with a total power of 2.2 electric gigawatts (GWe). 91% of this power was commissioned between 2009 and 2012. The total amount of support these installations will receive up until 2032 is estimated at 12.2 bn euros.

Photovoltaic power eligible for green certificates by year of commissioning (left) and the associated support in the period up until 2032 (right).

The duration of the support for photovoltaic energy is 10, 15 or 20 years, depending on the time of commissioning. The amount of the support has decreased over time. There is currently no more support for small-scale installations (up to 10 kWe).

Development of the amount of support for photovoltaic energy in the system of green certificates (€/MWh)

Onshore wind

Flanders has now awarded green certificates to onshore wind turbines with a total power of 665 MWe. The total amount of support these installations will receive up until 2030 is estimated at 1.3 billion euros.

Even today onshore wind is supported with green certificates, which means the amount of support will continue to increase, extending the period until after 2030.

Power from onshore wind energy eligible for green certificates by year of commissioning (left) and the associated support in the period up until 2030.

Offshore wind

The Federal Government offers support for offshore wind. Today more than 700 MWe is operational and concessions have been approved for a total wind power of 2,245 MWe. In the calculation we assume that this total power will be installed, and we distinguish between two ways of connecting these wind farms to the onshore grid:

  • via a modular network (offshore outlet): wind farms are connected to an offshore high-voltage substation, which in turn is connected to the onshore grid.
  • directly to the onshore grid

If an offshore outlet is created, we estimate the total support required at 15.8 billion euros. Without an offshore outlet, the total support required is 16.9 billion euros.

Offshore wind turbine power eligible for Federal support by year of commissioning (left) and the associated support in the period up until 2038 (variant with offshore outlet) (right).
Estimate for the support for offshore wind with and without offshore outlets.


The support policy of Flanders and the Federal Government serves to stimulate investments in renewable energy. Renewable energy production makes us less dependent on imports of fossil fuels, but requires considerable investment, and so we are seeing a shift from high variable costs to investment costs. A great deal has been learned in the past few years, and in particular the Flemish support policy for photovoltaic installations has been adapted to counter oversubsidy.

Since 2013 the value of green certificates in Flanders for new installations, for example, has been variable, in contrast with those pre-dating 2013 which remained fixed after commissioning. As a result, from 2013 the amount of green certificates depends on the evolution of investment costs and electricity prices. Even after commissioning, therefore, support can be adjusted: if the price of electricity falls, support for an operational solar or wind installation through green certificates will increase. The amount of support can also be adjusted every three years for offshore wind, linked to the price of electricity.

In 2014 the share of renewable energy in the gross final energy consumption in Belgium was just under 8%, and renewable electricity production was 13.36% of the gross final consumption of electricity. To achieve the 2020 targets for renewable energy (13% for Belgium), further significant investments will also be required in the coming years, which will push up the total amount of support even further.

While efforts are made to have lower, competitive electricity prices, excluding the electricity price, the investment costs and support for renewable energy in the current market environment will be recovered from the end consumer. A thorough analysis is called for into the question of how a market environment with more and more renewable energy will work in the future and what economic signals (in the short and long term) this will generate. The support mechanisms must be adapted so that they can always be optimally aligned with technological, market and technical developments.

EnergyVille is ready to tackle such a multidisciplinary study together with the government and in so doing create an objective basis for a successful transition of the energy system.


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