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Belgian grid operator expands network to host more solar, heat pumps, EVs

Fluvius said it wants to deploy another 30,000 kilometers of the low-voltage grid, 6,000 kilometers of the medium-voltage grid, and 22,450 distribution cabinets.

Belgian grid operator Fluvius announced a plan to invest €4 billion ($4.2 billion) in the expansion of its network in the 2023-2032 period.

“The expansion plan is intended to host up to 1.5 million electric cars, a massive amount of heat pumps, and more solar panels,” the company said in a statement. “The plan will be submitted to the relevant authorities, stakeholders and public opinion in the spring. After a public consultation round, the Flemish energy regulator — VREG — will decide in the autumn whether it can be approved and whether the requested funds will be awarded in the coming years.”

Fluvius expects complete electrification of the public bus transport by 2035 and gradually more electric freight transport. “Mobility will have the biggest impact on the power network in the coming decade, along with the building heating in the second half of the decade,” it further explained, noting that about 12% of the buildings in the Flanders region will be heated with heat pumps in 2030.

The plan aims to deploy another 30,000 kilometers of the low-voltage grid, 6,000 kilometers of the medium-voltage grid and 22,450 distribution cabinets.

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The Belgian federal government decided in March to reduce to 6% the value-added tax (VAT) for PV installations and heat pumps deployed in buildings erected over the past 10 years. This low percentage value was previously applied only to residential solar arrays and heat pumps installed on buildings that were more than 10 years old.

Belgium reached a cumulative installed solar power capacity of over 7 GW at the end of 2021.

According to a recent analysis by Belgian institute EnergyVille, rooftop PV and onshore wind have the technical potential to reach 118 GW of capacity in Belgium. Of the three Belgian macro-regions, Flemish-speaking Flanders is the one with the largest solar potential for rooftop systems, at 67.56 GW, followed by French-speaking Wallonia, with 31.54 GW, and the Brussels metropolitan region, with 4.23 GW.

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Source: pv magazine