Besides developing energy outlooks for Belgium, the FPB analyses and studies specific questions around three themes, each of which represents an aspect of the vast energy issue:
natural gas and electricity sectors
energy and sustainable development
These issues are analysed using tools and methods developed by the FPB or by third parties within the framework of research projects.
Natural gas and electricity sectors
Owing to the integration and the reforms of the European natural gas and electricity markets, those two sectors of our economy have come to the forefront of the political agenda. Combined with growing energy consumption, these movements bring with them concerns about the security of our medium- and long-term energy supply. Whether this involves reforms of the markets or the security of energy supply, the field of investigation goes beyond merely the Belgian framework: the European and international dimensions of the energy sector have to be taken into account.
The Federal Planning Bureau’s studies on this issue are very different in scope. Some fit into the general framework of studying reforms in the network industries (see theme "Regulation and globalization > Belgian and European regulation"). Other studies treat very specific problems related to the sectors concerned, such as, for instance, the impact of a black-out in Belgium. Still other studies extend the field of investigation to a world-wide and European level. (see pdf files: WETO-H2, WETO-2030).
Since the modification of the Electricity and Gas Laws in 2005 (Belgian Official Journal, June 14, 2005 [Dutch version - French version), the Federal Planning Bureau collaborates with the Directorate General for Energy of the FPS Economy, S.M.E.s, Self-employed and Energy, on the elaboration of the Prospective studies for Electricity and Natural Gas. This collaboration is maintained in the later revisions of the gas and electricity laws (Belgian Official Journal of 19 May 2009 and Belgian Official Journal of 11 January 2012). The Prospective Studies for Electricity (PSE) examine how to match electricity demand and supply in the medium and long term. The Prospective Studies for Gas (PSG) scrutinize the challenges related to the security of natural gas supply in Belgium.
The Federal Planning Bureau analyses the historical evolution of energy prices in Belgium, especially through the structural indicators published in the Short Term Update of December.
It also studies the macroeconomic effects of changes in energy prices, resulting for instance from an oil shock or tax measures aimed at reducing the emission of greenhouse gases. To do this, the Federal Planning Bureau uses the HERMES model (see theme "Forecasting, projections and analyses > Medium-term forecasting"). Analyses of this kind are produced regularly.
Energy and sustainable development
The energy sector is one of the most important sectors for developing and implementing policy measures towards a sustainable development. Within the framework of its activities, the Task Force Sustainable Development (see theme “Sustainable development”) studies the interactions between energy and sustainable development and determines the major challenges confronting Belgium.