Centrale van Ruien
THE ABANDONED POWER PLANT IN BELGIUM
The ‘Centrale van Ruien’, is a coal and gas fired power station located on the right bank of the Scheldt in the municipality of Ruien in East Flanders, Belgium. This Power Station was Belgium’s largest thermal power plant.
The power plant had been expanded numerous times over the years since it opened in the 1960. As demand increased, further turbines were added to the existing two. By the 1990s, the turbine hall contained six sets.
The oldest Escher Wyss coal-fired units have been decommissioned and were partially dismantled in 2011. Left were two Escher Wyss coal operated units and two gas-fired Brown Boveri BBC models, each coupled to an ACEC alternator. The four units generated 800 megawatts.
Between 2006 and 2012, the Belgian State spent more than 180 million euros for the refurbishment of the plant. Modern heat-recovery techniques were added to attempt to increase efficiency, however they failed to provide a sustainable future for the plant, forcing it to close in 2012. As a result, 105 employees lost their job.
Two coal turbines were shut down in March 2012. The other two remaining turbines, kept producing electricity only during peaks. The plant closed its doors in September 2013 and was fully dismantled in two years time. I visited ‘Centrale van Ruien’ in 2014.