by Hubert van den Bergh Belgian Delegate to the EETIC Executive Committee

When we look around the world, the application of renewable energy varies from country to country. Some have a high potential for profitable hydro energy; some have large areas with remote energy users; others see the greenhouse gas emissions from non-renewable energy as a direct geographical threat to their country.

Policies for promoting renewable energies also differ. In a number of countries, public funding is available or regulations support the use of renewables; in others, it is purely the free market which determines the level of application. But all governments are aware that the penetration of renewable energy has to be improved, to secure future energy supplies and ensure environmental protection.

In this issue of the Renewable Energy Newsletter, Belgium has the honour of being the guest writer. Belgium is a country of 10 million people, very densely populated and characterised by an extended energy distribution network, covering almost all buildings and industries. The annual primary energy consumption is about 2,400 PJ (55 million tonnes oil equivalent), of which more than 40% is imported oil. BelgiumÕs use of nuclear energy is also relatively high: 18% of primary energy, 60% of electricity production. Less than 0.5% of the energy we consume comes from renewable sources.

Furthermore, Belgium is a complicated country, in spite of its limited size: the three regions (Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels Capital) have full authority in the fields of energy consumption and promotion of renewable energy. Only Flanders is currently active in the CADDET network. None of the three regions has a major funding programme for renewables, but all three are trying to motivate people to introduce sustainable energy supply. The target for Flanders is to have a 3% renewable energy share in 2004.

The most promising applications of renewable energy occur where solutions are necessary for environmental reasons, and where energy is a valuable by-product, ie waste treatment. Landfill gas exploitation, untreated secondary wood and treated wood waste processing, anaerobic digestion of biowaste and other energy-from-waste technologies are the most important areas to be developed, and it is clearly the intention that other renewable technologies will profit from an upturn in interest.

With this in mind, the following article from the Belgian National Team about biogas exploitation (see page 4) is particularly appropriate.

I hope you enjoy this Newsletter.

The CADDET Renewable Energy Newsletter is a quarterly magazine published by the CADDET Centre for Renewable Energy at ETSU, UK.

The articles published in the Newsletter reflect the opinions of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the official view of CADDET.

Enquiries concerning the Newsletter should be addressed to Pauline Toole, Editor, CADDET Centre for Renewable Energy, ETSU, Harwell, Oxfordshire OX11 0RA, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 1235 432968, Fax: +44 1235 433595.