On 31 December 2019, Belgium submitted the final version National Energy and Climate Plan to the European Commission. This plan describes the measures with which Belgium intends to meet the climate target for 2030. In this article an overview.


Download here the National Energy and Climate Plan.

A short recap of the regulatory context

In 2018, the Clean Energy Package introduced a new regulation to simplify reporting obligations for Member States; the Regulation on the Governance of the Energy Union and Climate Action (EU 2018/1999). Among other things, this Regulation requires each Member State to draw up a plan for achieving its climate objectives over a 10-year period. 

This National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP) replaces the National Energy Efficiency Action Plan (NEEAP) from the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) and the National Renewable Energy Action Plan (NREAP) through the revised Renewable Energy Directive (RES) of 2018. The Directives and Regulations, however, still set out the requirements for climate objectives (e.g. energy efficiency, renewable energy) and specific sectoral framework conditions (e.g. buildings, electricity market). On the 31st of December 2019 all Member States submitted their first NECPs for the period 2021-2030..

For a summary of the Clean Energy Package Guidelines and Regulations, click here

Contents of the plan

Five dimensions have been chosen as the structure for the plan: energy efficiency, decarbonisation (including renewable energy), security of supply, research, innovation and competitiveness, and the internal energy market. The required content, such as the objectives to be formulated and the rules for what may and may not be counted, is described in separate Guidelines.

In the plan Member States should describe their targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing energy efficiency, the share of renewable energy and interconnectivity. In addition to a description of the policy measures, the plan must also include a projection of, among other things, an estimate of the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that will be reduced as a result.  

Table 1: Proposed greenhouse gas reduction targets (compared to 2005)

Objectives

Global

EU

Belgium

Flanders

Wallonia

Brussels

Federal

2030

1,5°-2°C

-40%

-35%

-35%*

-37%*

-40%*

if needed

2020

-18%

-20%

-15%

15,7%

-14,7%

-8,8%

-7000 Kton CO2-eq

* Indicative

Long-term renovation strategy

With the entry into force of the Governance Regulation, the long-term renovation strategy from the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) becomes part of the NECP. A one-off exception has been made for the NEKP of 2021-2030; the deadline for the associated long-term renewal strategy has been slightly extended to the 10th of March 2020.

The framework conditions for what the long-term renovation strategy should contain have been set out in the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) since its revision in 2018. This revision also adds a number of additional requirements, such as a comprehensive description of the state of the building park and a plan for financing the necessary renovations. The long-term renewal strategy describes the approach up to 2050 based on indicative milestones of 10 years.

For more information about the revision of the EPBD, click here.

A 10 year reporting cycle

A reporting cycle has been drawn up for the preparation and follow-up of the National Energy and Climate Plan (NEKP). Each NECP cycle start with a first draft. This draft is then adapted into a final plan on the basis of feedback from the European Commission. After 3.5 years, a Member State should prepare a draft update. A final version of this update follows one year later. 

Finally, from March 2023 onwards, Member States will have to produce an integrated climate and energy progress report every two years. In principle, this entire process repeats itself every 10 years (see figure 1). As far as the integrated climate and energy progress report is concerned, there still appears to be an inconsistency in the Regulation.  This has yet to be reconsidered by the European Commission (this is therefore indicated in Figure 1 as to be confirmed (TBC)). 


Figure 1: Example of the reporting cycle for the National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP) (source: Agoria)

For more information about the Governance Regulation, click here.

Implementation in Belgium

In Belgium, the National Energy and Climate Plan (NEKP) is a regional or federal competence depending on the subject. As a result, a separate federal, Flemish, Walloon and Brussels plan have to be drawn up and adopted. This also has an impact on the shaping of the climate targets; for example, the federal government has not set a target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but has indicated that it will take additional federal measures if the targets are not met at regional level. Once the individual plans have been approved by the relevant Governments, they are then integrated by the National Climate Commission. 

Next steps

The next step will be the submission of an updated long-term renovation strategy on 10th of March 2020. In Flanders this is called the ‘Renovatiepact’, in Wallonia the 'Stratégie Wallone de Renovation' and in Brussels the 'Projet de strategie de reduction de l'impact environnemental du bati existant'. The plans are coordinated with both the coalition agreements and the National Energy and Climate Plans (NEKPs). The next step is to further elaborate the policy measures and to implement them. In Flanders, this elaboration will be carried out in collaboration with stakeholders via the “Stroomgroep Energy Efficiency”.

Relevant links