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BRUGEL opens the door to innovation

04 February 2021

BRUGEL is making it possible for certain projects to apply for a derogation from the market and pricing rules for energy. As such, the energy regulator for the Brussels-Capital Region is supporting innovative pilot projects as a means of contributing towards the development of the energy network of tomorrow.

These derogations from the rules that BRUGEL provides are limited both in time and in space: a project that obtains an exemption of that type must be developed within a certain geographical area or electricity zone and is able to benefit from this exemption for a standard period of two years. BRUGEL focuses on innovative solutions that will enable power generated decentrally to be connected to the distribution networks, but applications relating to projects in other fields can also be submitted.  

“These derogations enable BRUGEL to take initiative when it comes to energy transition, and to support new projects. By allowing these derogations BRUGEL will be able to analyse the implications of collective self-consumption and, on that basis, to consider the form of a structural framework for the future. The intention is that the project will subsequently be upscaled to assist consumers in Brussels with their energy transition," said Thibaut Georgin, Chairman of BRUGEL. 

BRUGEL makes use of three evaluation criteria to select these projects. Firstly, the innovative nature of the project is assessed. Complementarity with projects already under way is also taken into account. Finally, the social added value of the project is also important, whether this be on an economic, ecological or sociological level. The reproducibility of the project on a regional scale is also important in order to increase the impact of a successful project.  

In accordance with that framework, the Les Bambins project was launched in July 2020. This project, which was developed around the Nos Bambins school in Ganshoren, aims to set up an energy community, in which residents share in the renewable energy generated by the solar panels installed at the school and by a private individual. The Les Bambins project is being managed by APERe asbl, the association for the promotion of renewable energy sources. On a practical level, 15 district residents will buy in the school's surplus green energy at a lower rate. Each of the consumers was equipped with a smart meter that tracks their consumption. The network is managed by Sibelga, which controls the electricity and natural gas distribution networks on behalf of the 19 municipalities of the Brussels-Capital Region. The project will run for two years, until July 2022. By setting up the Les Bambins project, the developers intend to explore the feasibility of local self-consumption within a neighbourhood and wish to test out governance and sharing models for production and consumption of energy.  

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