Between the energy crisis, the decline in purchasing power and the increase in the price of petrol, the morale of Belgian households is rather gloomy. However, an improvement is observed: the price of gas has been falling for 3 months. It had peaked at €349 per megawatt hour (MWh) and has now fallen to €150/MWh, a drop of more than 50%. But should we rejoice? According to Damien Ernst, computer engineer from ULiège, it is still far too much: “Above €60, there is a real threat of the industrial fabric collapsing”.
17€ per megawatt/hour, it was normal
However, the prices towards which we are heading cannot be considered low: “€150 is still significantly higher than the price of 2 years ago”, recalls Francesco Contino, professor specializing in energy at UCLouvain. “It remained below €20/MWh for years before the Covid crisis”, adds Damien Ernst.
According to the computer engineer from ULiège, if the price of gas peaked at €349/MWh, it was a particular and one-off phenomenon. The drop of more than 50% should therefore be tempered. “€150 is still far too much, this sum is not paid in Asia or the United States. As long as you are above €60/MWh, you have a threat of the collapse of the European industrial fabric which does not know how to compete in terms of energy prices with the Asian fabric and that of the United States”, laments Damien Ernst. Indeed, the prices in Asia are twice as low and those in the United States ten times lower than ours.
The Secretary of State for the Budget Eva De Bleeker confirms that we must not only consider the approaching winter but that we must “really do everything to save the industrial network”.