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Energy in Flanders
Flanders is home to various cluster organizations that support the energy industry in the region by offering companies a myriad of innovation and research possibilities.
To zoom in on just three of these organizations:
- VLEC – Short for ‘Flanders’ Energy Cluster’, VLEC brings together energy industry players and scientific partner organizations. The aim? To promote Flanders as a ‘Smart Energy Region’ by driving concrete market breakthroughs and comprehensive solutions that complete the energy value chain.
- Smart Grids Flanders – This knowledge platform unites businesses, universities and research institutions to enable the smart grids and smart energy meters of tomorrow.
- EnergyVille – Bringing together the expertise of research centers VITO (energy technology development) and imec (nanotech) as well as Leuven University, EnergyVille is the go-to center of expertise for sustainable energy, intelligent energy systems, energy-efficient buildings, etc.
Flanders has all the ingredients to take clean technology and renewable energy to the next level: from a government-driven commitment to sustainability, over innovative energy companies, to pioneering research centers and knowledge platforms that aim to bring about a clean energy economy.
Flanders boasts unique expertise in fostering a biobased economy and using biomass as a resource for energy. Many novel applications – like biofuels, to give just one example – result from the energetic cross-pollination occurring between biobased business and research in Flanders.
From smart grids to cogeneration plants, the expertise of Flanders-based research centers and cluster organizations – such as imec (nanotech), VITO (energy technology) and Smart Grids Flanders – provide the ideal fundamentals for developing the energy storage solutions of the future.
Companies with or deciding to set up their activities or headquarters in Flanders can reap the rewards of:
- various government grants and subsidies for transformation, ecological, R&D and growth investments;
- unique tax incentives for various types of business activities and investments;
- a set of employment subsidies to further reduce your salary costs as well as fiscal remuneration advantages;
- a number of funding options to help you get off the ground.
Flanders has a system of ‘green certificates’ to promote energy generation from renewable sources. Put in place by VREG, the regulator of the electricity and gas market in Flanders, the system is two-pronged:
- on one hand, producers of electricity from renewable energy sources can receive green certificates, which they may sell;
- on the other hand, power suppliers must submit a specific number of green certificates to avoid a fine.
- ... Flanders has played a role in the development of wind turbine technology from square one? The world’s first large-scale wind energy park was built in Zeebrugge, West Flanders.
- … Vleemo, a renewable energy company, is building Flanders’ biggest onshore wind energy park at the port of Antwerp?
- … Belgium (Flanders) ranks 3rd on the list of countries with the highest number of solar panels per capita?
- … Flanders is part of the “energetic Silicon Valley of Western Europe”? This region includes the ‘North Seas’ countries Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden. In June 2016, these nations signed a declaration containing a roadmap for the construction of an integrated network of offshore wind parks.