EDF Luminus to mothball Belgian gas-fired electricity units in 2015

Author: Beatrice Mavroleon


French utility EDF’s Belgian subsidiary EDF Luminus will mothball 100MW of gas-fired generation and permanently decommission another 39MW of gas-fired capacity on 1 April 2015, according to a statement from the company on Tuesday.

The group is also notifying the authorities of their decision to permanently close the oil-fired 70MW Monsin plant on 1 April 2015. This facility has been operating for over 40 years and its operating permit will expire in 2014. The plant was operational for only 60 hours this year, the company said.

The 2015 date for mothballing and closing the units is determined by a 15-month notice period required by Belgian law.

The plants to be mothballed are the 22MW Izegem gas-fired plant, commissioned in 1995 and operating for 5 hours this year, and the 78MW gas-fired Angleur plant, in operation since 1978 but operating for 22 hours in 2013. Angleur’s steam turbine unit, corresponding to an additional 39MW, will be permanently closed at the same time.

An EDF Luminus spokesman said there is no specific plan for bringing the mothballed plants back into service in the future, but the company hopes this will be possible at some point.

The company cited low demand for electricity, growth in renewable generation, low carbon prices increasing profitability for coal-fired power generation and electricity generation overcapacity in Europe as the motivations for its decision.

Gas-fired plant pressure

The move follows decisions to mothball other gas-fired plants across Europe as the unfavourable economics of gas-fired generation show little sign of improving. Earlier this year, Paris-based energy group GDF Suez announced it would mothball 1.4GW of French gas-fired generation capacity, and would review another 2GW of unspecified power generation capacity for possible mothballing ( see EDEM 1 August 2013 ).

The Belgian government is planning to launch a tender next January for developing 800MW of gas-fired capacity to be operational in 2016, which would benefit from a flexible support system that would be activated when market prices fall below a certain level. This is intended as a measure to ensure greater security of electricity supply ( see EDEM 22 November 2013 ). Beatrice Mavroleon