The political party Groen (the Flemish green party) claims that Belgium is way behind when it comes to green energy. They also say our energy bill is ranked the third most expensive in Europe. Groen mentions this claim on both Facebook and in an article on their website. The party repeats the claim multiple times, but it does not reveal a source.
Even though Groen uses the claim for articles on both their website and their Facebook page, they don’t say where this information comes from. After contacting them, they reacted that they used the data from Eurostat to back up their claim.
Countries all over the world switch to renewable energy, Belgium stays behind
The first part of the claim was the hardest to research. Not a lot of research or data can be found comparing Belgium globally on renewable energy sources. We combined two statistics of Statista, one on global renewable energy and one on the Belgian evolution on renewable energy.
From this, we gather that in 9 years, Belgium has grown from 3,6% to 15,8%, while globally we see growth from 5,2% to 11%. It means that Belgium does keep up globally; it even exceeds the average global increase.
An expert on the topic, Johan Albrecht, professor of energy at the University of Gent, and an economist explains what Groen might mean with the first part of their claim. “Well, what they mean with this statement is that our country doesn’t achieve the aims made by the European Commission for green energy. Looking at it from that point of view, we are behind on things like investments to make renewable energy possible.”
Already, our energy bill is the third most expensive in Europe
After researching this topic, it became clear the source of the second part of the claim has to be Eurostat. It is a fact that Belgium is ranked third when it comes to the highest electricity prices. Here is the first red mark in the claim Groen made. The party talks about the energy bill, while it concerns the cost of electricity. “Electricity or power is only a part of the energy. When you take into account fuel or gas, you get a whole different story”, says Albrecht.
Another big issue concerning this topic is money. The financial side of renewable energy still rings a lot of alarms. Johan Albrecht claims it is a fact that in the beginning green energy costs a lot, even more than other energy sources. But the long-term point of view is the best one.
‘Which countries have the highest electricity costs? Those who’ve invested most in renewable energy. So, first, we have Denmark, the European leader when it comes to wind energy. Secondly, there is Germany, a country that has a lot of wind and solar energy. And then we have Belgium in the third place. In Belgium, a lot of subsidies go to renewable sources. We can’t forget that the cost of these sources does not get paid by the authorities but needs to get paid by consumers.’
“While countries all over the world are switching to green energy, Belgium stays behind. Already, our energy bill is the third of Europe.” It is true that countries all over the world are switching to green energy, but so is Belgium. We don’t have the third highest energy bill, but we do have the third highest electricity bill in Europe.
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