Definitive Accord on Green Energy
THE HAGUE, 29/08/13 - After months of intensive negotiations, a definitive accord has been reached for more renewable energy. The core of the accord is that the Netherlands will make a big effort on energy savings, and coal-fired power plants will be exchanged for wind turbines.
As early as this year, a 600 million euro fund will be set up to help home-owners introduce energy-saving measures such as double glazing or insulation of walls.
These are loans that are earned back via a lower energy bill. Central government is making 400 million euros available to do the same with rented social housing.
The Energy Accord is a deal between cabinet, environmental organisations, companies and employers. The accord state that all the measures combined will create 15,000 jobs. The Socio-Economic Council (SER) led the negotiations and remains involved in monitoring compliance with the agreements.
The money for the measures will mainly be found from a subsidy of 3.8 billion euros per year already earmarked for green energy. The total subsidy amount up to 2020 will ultimately turn out1 billion euros lower, because it has been agreed to postpone the target of 16 percent of green energy to 2023. By 2020, 14 percent of energy consumption should be generated sustainably.
Specifically, it has been agreed to target 100 peta-joules less energy consumption by 2020, or 4.5 percent of total energy consumption in the Netherlands. As well as the built-up areas, agreements have also been made for sectors including glasshouses and transport.
As already leaked earlier, the Netherlands is to engage in a big push for offshore wind energy. Part of the subsidy fund will be earmarked for this. The aim is to expand this form of power to 4,450 megawatts (MW) in 2023. Currently, the figure is slightly over 250 MW with another 700 MW in the pipeline. There will also be many more onshore wind turbines.
As part of the measures, the permit procedure will be accelerated. The principle is that wind turbines will be operational within four years after receiving a subsidy, the document states.
Additionally, it has been agreed that the five oldest coal-fired power plants in the Netherlands will be definitively closed by 2017, providing this is permitted by the Consumer and Market Authority. In exchange, the coal tax wll disappear in 2016. The 115 million euro per year budget gap will be filled by an increase in the energy tax. There will also be a ceiling for the amount of biomass that can be burned in in the coal plants that remain open.
Building industry lobby organisation Bouwend Nederland expects “many thousands of extra man-years of work” as a result of the accord. FME, the organisation for the technological industry, is also pleased. This is also the case with the environmental organisations Greenpeace and Natuur en Milieu, though they consider it a pity that not all coal-fired power plants are to close.