Research into the development of renewable energy in the Belgian electricity grid

In the context of the energy transition fund and on the recommendation of the Minister for Energy, Environment and Sustainable Development Marghem, the Minister Council has approved the EnergyVille project BREGILAB to maximize renewable energy in the future Belgian electricity grid at minimum cost. In addition to the roll-out of wind energy, solar panels will also have to deliver a considerable part of the renewable energy production, hence the focus of the project.

Given the fact that there is a major peak in solar energy around noon, the current injection into the grid must be limited when there is a lot of sun to prevent overloading of the electricity grid. In a short internal study by EnergyVille it was already established that, with an injection limit on solar panels, 50% of the electricity production can be generated via wind and sun without overloading the grid or without the need for batteries. With the installation of an optimal extra battery capacity, up to 70% renewable electricity can be used without putting extra strain on the grid.

The BREGILAB project will examine in detail how this can be practically realized at minimal cost for network expansion and batteries. The following topics will be studied:

  • Design of the electricity grid for maximizing the direct consumption of renewable energy with a grid injection limit
  • Optimal geographical distribution of the capacity of wind turbines
  • Optimal geographical distribution and orientation of solar panels
  • Optimal dimensioning and spreading of storage, for instance with batteries
  • Use of surplus renewable energy for thermal industrial processes
  • Impact of the growth of electric cars and heat pumps on the electricity grid

In this way, the BREGILAB project forms an essential element to prepare Belgium for the further rollout of solar and wind energy in the coming decades. The project will be executed under the direction of Dr. ir. Marc Meuris of EnergyVille/imomec, in collaboration with his colleague Pieter Lodewijks from EnergyVille/VITO.