Energy Policy 32 (2004) 165–176
Tradable green certiﬁcates in Flanders (Belgium)
University of Antwerp (UA), STEM, Prinsstraat 13, B-2000 Antwerpen, Belgium
The paper provides details on green certiﬁcate systems in Belgium. The Flemish region has established a system and the Walloon
region is preparing a slightly different one. The lack of uniformity and consequently of transparency in one country emphasises the
need for more EU leadership in the ﬁeld. The main part of the article analyses the established Flemish system. Green certiﬁcates are
complementary to other instruments that promote renewable electricity, e.g. direct subventions on the feed-in price of green
electricity or direct subventions on capital investments. Certiﬁcates execute a forcing effect on the actual development of green
power if the imposed shares of green power in total sales are signiﬁcant and if the ﬁne level is at the height to enforce the quota. If the
ﬁne is too low the incentive effect turns into a ﬁnancing tax effect. When the green certiﬁcate system does the job it is designed for,
i.e. operating at the edge of the RES-E development and organise the transition from a non-sustainable to a sustainable power
system, certiﬁcate prices will be high and reduce end-use consumption of electricity. A segmentation of the RES-E sector along the
various RES-E technologies is a necessity to keep any certiﬁcate system affordable, effective and efﬁcient. One can segment the
tradable certiﬁcate market or one can assign a different number of certiﬁcates to a different RES-E technology project. Both
solutions require an intensive follow-up of cost structures and of other policy measures (subventions), but given the infant state of
understanding and experience segmenting markets may be best in the nearby years.
r 2003 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Green certiﬁcates; Renewable energy; Policy instruments
1. Green certiﬁcate systems (proposed) in Belgium
1.1. Actors responsible for energy policy in Beligium
The situation in Belgium is complicated by the
legendary institutional complexity of the country.
Belgium is a federal state consisting of three regions:
Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels. In Belgium ‘energy’
falls under the responsibility of both the federal and the
regional authorities for certain matters.
The federal authorities are responsible for:
The national equipment programme in the electricity
and gas sector,
Electricity generation (power stations),
Electricity transmission (high-voltage lines),
The regional authorities are responsible for:
Local transmission and distribution of electricity
(under 70 kV),
Public gas distribution,
Promotion of renewable energy sources (RES),
Rational use of energy (RUE).
Flanders has introduced a green certiﬁcate system,
with an obligation starting January 1, 2002. Wallonia is
about to introduce a slightly different green certiﬁcate
system, that also includes co-generation.
The Brussels region adopted a new electricity law in
July 2001, which will come into practice in 2003. This
new law opens up the possibility for a regional
certiﬁcates scheme covering the Brussels region, but it
is unclear if a market system for green electricity will
ever be proposed.
A separate arrangement will operate at the federal
level. The federal obligation will apply to large
customers directly connected to the grid. Offshore
windmills don’t belong to one speciﬁc region and are
therefore a federal matter in Belgium. Offshore wind-
mills will probably sell their certiﬁcates to the grid
operator, who will then sell them on to distributors at
whatever price he can obtain. Details have not been
made ofﬁcial yet.
ARTICLE IN PRESS
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