At the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium in Brussels, some hundred energy experts united for the kick-off of EPOC and BREGILAB, two projects initiated with the support of the energy transition fund. For the first time, the EPOC project will unite 14 Belgian research institutes, including EnergyVille (KU Leuven, VITO, imec and UHasselt), the Federal Planning Bureau and several Flemish and Walloon universities, to collectively develop energy models to visualize the future of the Belgian energy system. The BREGILAB project investigates how the share of renewable energy in the Belgian electricity grid can be further extended in a cost-effective way. This way, both projects want to systematically support the Belgian energy debate with scientifically based data.

The Belgian energy system is facing an important challenge: on the one hand there is need for a consistent energy supply, on the other hand Belgium needs to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions (the part not included in the European emission trade system) with 35% by the year 2050. All of this at a reasonable price.

EPOC 2030-2050

To make a thorough decision and find a compromise between cost, technology and ecology, scientifically based data are required. Pieter Vingerhoets, project coordinator of the EPOC project: “The goal of the EPOC 2030-2050 project is to combine the expertise of the Belgian energy research institutes and calculate, based on energy models, the most cost-effective way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the reliability of the energy supply while at the same time keeping in mind the cost for the end consumer. The approach and results will be thoroughly discussed with the Belgian energy sector. The project will shed light on the Belgian energy future between 2030 and 2050 and support the energy debate with scientific results.”

The EPOC project focuses on the timespan 2030-2050. In the past, other studies, such as those from EnergyVille and the Federal Planning Bureau, have already been performed and demonstrated it to be cost-effective to make the Belgian electricity production largely based on renewable energy by 2030. In Europe, the first subsidy-free projects for onshore and offshore wind energy emerge, the prices for solar panels are still decreasing and there is still a huge potential for solar energy on favourably located rooftops. The EPOC project therefore looks beyond 2030 and takes into account new developments for a sustainable energy vision by 2050. This way, next to electricity, also the heat demand and transport in Belgium will be incorporated In the study. 


Taking into account the research results mentioned above, the BREGILAB project will investigate how the share of renewable energy can be increased and optimally integrated into the Belgian electricity grid. This at a minimal cost and with sufficient grid stability. Furthermore, the project also looks into the role of batteries to meet power surges.

The EPOC and BREGILAB projects, both taking three years, will generate scientifically based research data to come to a clear energy vision for Belgium. The projects are coordinated by EnergyVille. EPOC includes the research partners: VITO, imec, KU Leuven, UHasselt, ICEDD, the Federal Planning Bureau, WaterstofNet, Transport & Mobility Leuven, UGent, UMons, KMI, UCL, ULiège and ULB. For BREGILAB, EnergyVille and KMI are the research partners involved.