Following the entry into force of the Law of 8 January 2012 amending the Electricity Law, the Royal Decree of 11 October 2000 on the granting of individual permits covering the establishment of electricity generation facilities is still to be reviewed. In the intervening period, the Directorate General of Energy of the FPS Economy, SMEs, Middle Classes and Energy shall investigate new applications and the CREG shall issue opinions on the basis of the Royal Decree of 11 October 2000 in force.
In 2014, the CREG issued two opinions under its advisory remit in the matter of generation permits.
The CREG’s first opinion* Opinion (E)140130-CDC-1308 on the granting of an individual permit for the extension of a power plant (wind farm) to Neufchâteau-Léglise-by Electrabel SA.. addressed Electrabel’s application for an electricity generation permit to establish a farm of twelve wind turbines with total capacity of 38 MW in the municipalities of Neufchâteau and Léglise.
The CREG’s second opinion* Opinion (A)140123-CDC-1301 on the granting of an individual permit for the establishment of a power plant in Manage by Eni Power Generation S.A.. addressed the establishment by Eni Power Generation of a combined cycle gas-steam turbine (GST) power generation plant with a capacity of 450 MWe in the commune of Manage. The generation permit was granted by Ministerial Decree of 14 July 2014 (Official Journal of 31 July 2014).
In 2014 there was no notification of change of shareholding control of holders of a generation licence.
Applications for domain concessions for the construction and operation of installations for the generation of electricity from water, current or wind, in marine areas over which Belgium can exercise its jurisdiction are handled by the Minister for Energy. The latter will forward the request to the relevant authorities and to the CREG, which assess the technical dossier related to the application and issue an opinion. Following consultation with the Transmission System Operator, It then transmits its suggestion to grant or refuse a domain concession to the Minister.
On 20 March, 2014, a Royal Decree on the establishment of the development plan for marine areas (Official Journal 28 March 2014 + erratum of 7 April 2014) was enacted* In October 2013, the CREG issued an opinion on various provisions in the draft royal decree (see annual report 2013, p. 13). .
The Law of 8 May, 2014 also creates a domain concessions mechanism - for the sole benefit of the transmission system operators - for the construction and operation of electricity transmission facilities in marine areas of the North Sea (see 2.3 hereof).
On 13 February 2014, the CREG issued a favourable opinion* Opinion (A)140213-CDC-1313 on the application, filed by the temporary company Seastar, to transfer the domain concession for the construction and operation of wind power generation plants in marine areas, which had been granted by Ministerial Decree of 1 June 2012, to Seastar S.A. (conditional on the applicant demonstrating that it has valid civil liability insurance in respect of the facility or on an undertaking to take out such insurance) on the application by the Seastar temporary company for transfer to the limited company Seastar, of the domain concession that had been granted by the Ministerial Decree of 1 June 2012.
On 30 July 2014, the CREG issued an opinion* Opinion (A)140730-CDC-1357 on the application to change the domain concession for the construction and operation of wind power generation plants in marine areas, granted to the temporary company Mermaid by Ministerial Decree of 20 July 2012. to the Directorate General of Energy on the change request for the domain concession assigned to the temporary company Mermaid. The Mermaid application related to the postponement of the establishment of the provision for decommissioning of the offshore wind farms given the basic assumptions underlying the reform of the support mechanism for energy produced by offshore wind power. The opinion of the CREG was positive, on condition that the amount originally planned for the decommissioning is maintained.
On 20 November 2014, the CREG sent its comments to the Directorate General for Energy at the request of the temporary company Mermaid for the granting of a permit for an electrical cable installation in the North Sea for the connection of wind turbines to the alpha offshore node of the Transmission System Operator or to the onshore network.
Finally, on 10 December 2014, the CREG issued an unfavourable opinion* Opinion (A)141210-CDC-1391 on the application to extend the domain concession for the construction and operation of wind power generation plants in marine areas (Bligh Bank), granted to Belwind S.A. by Ministerial Decree of 05 June 2007 and amended by Ministerial Decrees of 5 February and 10 September 2012. on the application for an extension of the domain concession granted to Belwind by Ministerial Order of 5 June 2007 (already amended in 2009 and 2012) to launch the second phase of the offshore wind farm. The CREG however was in favour of a limited extension of the domain concession to enable, inter alia, funding of the second phase of the project in good conditions.
Readers are referred to 2.3. hereof on the amendment of the offshore electricity generation framework.
Northwind made two applications in 2013 and seven applications in 2014 for green certificates for electricity generated by seventy-two additional wind turbines in the North Sea. The CREG took five decisions* Final Decision (B)140213-CDC-1302 on the application filed by Northwind for the granting of green certificates for electricity generated by wind farms A01, A02, A03, A04, A05, A06, A07, A08, A09, C01, C02, C03, C04, C05, C06, C07, C08, C09 and C10; Final Decision (B)140313-CDC-1314 on the application filed by Northwind for the granting of green certificates for electricity generated by wind farms B01, B02, B03, B05, B06, B07, D01, D02, D03, D04, D05, D06, D07, D08 and D09; Final decision (B)140430-CDC-1320 on the application filed by Northwind for the granting of green certificates for electricity generated by wind farms E01, E02, E03, E04, E05, E06, E07, E08, E09, F01, F02, F03, F04, F05, F06, F07, F08, F09 and F10 ; Final decision (B)140619-CDC-1333 on the application filed by Northwind for the granting of green certificates for electricity generated by wind farms G01, G02, G03, G05, G06, G07, G08 and G09 ; Final decision (B)140717-CDC-1340 on the application filed by Northwind for the granting of green certificates for electricity generated by wind farms B04, G04, H01, H02, H03, H04, H05, H06, H07, H08 and H09. , all positive, in this matter.
In March 2014, the CREG also approved* Final decision (B)140327-CDC-1282 on the application for approval of the draft contract for the purchase of green certificates between Elia System Operator S.A. and Belwind S.A. a proposal to modify the contract between Elia and Belwind for the purchase of green certificates for electricity generated from offshore wind energy.
In 2014, compared to 2013, total installed capacity in offshore wind turbines increased by 141 MW to a total of 707.1 MW.
This increase is due to the commissioning of 47 wind turbines with a capacity of 3 MW, in the first half of 2014, by Northwind. An Alstom demonstration turbine (a 6 MW Haliade 150 ) was also installed in late 2013 in the Belwind domain concession, but was not yet operational as of 31 December 2014.
Table 1 provides an overview of the rated power of offshore wind farms – existing and under construction.
In 2014, all offshore wind farms together injected 2,155 GWh into the onshore transmission network. Net production (before transformation) of all certified offshore wind turbines amounted to 2,221,311 GWh for 2014.
Figure 2 shows the net energy generated by the domain concession holder and the number of green certificates issued by the CREG for the generation in question between January 2014 and December 2014, where the holder of a domain concession was granted a green certificate per MWh produced. In 2014, the three offshore wind farms together reached net generation of 2,221,311 MWh for which green certificates worth 231,557,300 Euros were granted.
After a bilateral consultation with the Belgian Offshore Platform (BOP) in September 2014, the CREG established guidelines* Guidelines (R)141023-CDC-1371 on the application of the procedure for determining the amounts to be taken into account for fixing the minimum price per green certificate for offshore wind energy. for the application of the procedure for determining the values to be taken into account for fixing the minimum price per green certificate for offshore wind energy. The guidelines include procedures for the filing of the application, its review by the CREG and the setting of the minimum price per domain concession.
They were developed as part of the support for the offshore wind energy generated by plants which are covered by a domain concession referred to in Article 6 of the Electricity Law but whose financial close is after 1 May 2014. The new support mechanism described in the Royal Decree of 16 July 2002, as amended 4 April 2014, is described in 2.3. hereof.
Under the Royal Decree of 30 July 2013, the CREG is entrusted with the task of issuing guarantees of origin for electricity generated offshore. Furthermore, the CREG shall maintain a database holding all information on guarantees and the transactions to which they apply. Given that no supplier or consumer is active in the Belgian offshore area, guarantees of federal origin cannot be used «locally» to provide information to consumers about the source of their electricity (hereafter: «disclosure»). Therefore, the CREG paid particular attention from the start to the recognition of guarantees of federal origin so that they can be used for the fuel mix of the three regions and of other European countries.
The CREG submitted an application for membership of the Association of Issuing Bodies (AIB). This is an association organizing a hub for the exchange of guarantees of origin and certificates of the same type following standardized procedures. Ease of exchange is based on a set of detailed rules, the EECS Rules, which shall guarantee maximum reliability and be complementary to national and European regulations. Following its application, the CREG shall draft a number of documents (Domain Protocol, Standard Terms & Conditions) to implement these rules in a manner that is consistent with the existing regulatory framework. These documents shall be signed by the market players to obtain access to the hub via the CREG. In September 2014, the CREG submitted a first draft of these documents, but the review process was not yet finalized by the end of the year.
Given the duration of the AIB membership process, the CREG also initiated direct dialogue with regional regulators to ensure that guarantees of federal origin can circulate in Belgium. The result of this constructive engagement is outlined in the general terms and conditions of the database of guarantees of origin. In December 2014, the CREG received two applications for registration of which one was approved in 2014. Applications for the granting and cancellation of guarantees of origin could be made through the forms posted on the CREG website. The operations as such are recorded on the IT platform, which also became operational during 2014.
In April 2014, the CREG examined* Study (F)140430-CDC-1321 on the connection of planned offshore wind farms in marine areas over which Belgium may exercise jurisdiction in accordance with the international law of the sea. the technical and economic aspects and final cost to be paid by the Belgian electricity consumer for the connection of the remaining domain concessions granted to Norther, Rentel, Seastar and Mermaid/Northwester II.
The Royal Decree of 8 May 2014 on the conditions and procedure for granting domain concessions for the construction and operation of hydro power storage facilities in marine areas over which Belgium may exercise jurisdiction in accordance with the international law of the sea (Official Journal 6 June 2014 )* In July 2013, the CREG had issued an opinion on the determination of the two areas for the establishment of such storage facilities (see 2013 Annual Report, 2013, pages 12-13). assigns the CREG the remit of providing an opinion on the assessment of the technical dossier complied in relation to the domain concession application. This opinion may propose that technical conditions be imposed. The CREG was also assigned the task of issuing an opinion on any application for sale, total or partial transfer, sharing and leasing of the domain concession but also in the event of expiry or withdrawal as a result of forfeiture or waiver (see 2.3. hereof).
Examination of the domain concession application filed by the temporary company iLand for the construction and operation of hydro power storage facilities on the Wenduinebank was still under review as of 31 December 2014.
During 2014, the CREG attended several meetings of the Belgian Offshore Grid (mesh network in the North Sea) and PLUG AT SEA (company bringing together offshore wind players). During the final quarter of 2014, at the initiative of the CREG, two meetings were convened with stakeholders (Elia and offshore wind farms) to discuss future developments in this case.
The reader is referred to 22.214.171.124. hereof.