Energy Accord: Windmills to Supplant Coal-Fired Plants
THE HAGUE, 13/07/13 - There are to be enormous onshore and offshore wind turbine parks, homes will be insulated on a large scale and old coal-fired power plants will close down, according to the main lines of the National Energy Accord on which the cabinet is working.
The cabinet, employers, unions and the environmental movement have agreed the main lines in a verbal accord, Economic Affairs Minister Henk Kamp reported Friday. The energy accord will no longer target 16 percent 'green' energy in 2020 - as in the coalition accord - but 14 percent. This is the minimum requirement of Brussels. Only in 2023 should 16 percent be achieved.
The coal tax will be abolished in 2016. This will cost the Treasury at least 115 million euros a year. Against this, five coal-fired plants dating from the 1980s will close: three in 2015 (in Borssele, Geertruidenberg and Nijmegen) and two in the port of Rotterdam in 2017.
Newer coal-fired plants will be allowed to stay in production. On the question of the partial use of biomass in modern coal plants, it has been agreed that this will be restricted. But no hard figure have been attached to this.
The employers accept that substantial subsidies will flow to wind turbines, at least 4,400 megawatt turbines offshore and 6,000 megawatt on land. Additionally, the present fiscal scheme for promoting solar energy will be extended and widened. It will, for example, become attractive to install solar panels in school buildings and sports halls.
The accord will lead to extra work, especially in the building sector, says Kamp. Funds will be made available for housing corporations and home-owners to finance insulation of homes. The cabinet should have some hundreds of millions of euros for this. The pension funds will also be asked to make a financial contribution.
Although efforts will be made on the insulation of homes and offices, ,there will be no compulsory ‘energy label’ ranking environmental friendliness. Earlier, the plan was that without such a label, houses could not be sold, but Kamp fears that this would put the troubled housing market under further pressure.
The parties involved stress that the accord is not yet ready. The negotiators have, for example, agreed on the amount of energy that private individuals and companies must save, but the way they should do this is still unclear. For this, the Netherlands Energy Research Centre and the Planning Bureau for the Living Environment will carry out research. The full accord is not expected until after the summer.