On November 16 2011 the minister of economic affairs, agriculture and innovation sent a letter to Parliament announcing four important amendments to the Electricity Act and the Gas Act.

One of the legislative proposals is to amend both acts to facilitate the minority privatisation of the two transmission system operators, Gasunie and TenneT. The minister is to issue a policy letter towards the end of 2011 in which he will explain the starting points of and the guidelines for the privatisation. The bill is expected to be sent to Parliament in mid-2012.

The minister then discussed the possibility of a legislative proposal on an obligatory fixed share of biomass (currently 10%) in the fuel mix of coal-fired power plants. At present, the need for such legislation is still under review and the minister expects to be able provide more information to Parliament in Spring 2012.

The minister also announced a bill dealing with, among other things:

  • natural gas composition;
  • self-supply for small end consumers (including netting behind the connection or meter); and
  • investing in networks to ensure the security of supply and the incorporation of sustainable energy.

This bill is expected to be published in mid-2012.

The most dramatic amendment announced, at least from the legislature's point of view, is the proposal to merge the Electricity Act and the Gas Act into a single act. This would be a considerable endeavour; to this end, the energy regulator is assessing the existing legislation to examine how the pieces of legislation can be merged. The outcome of this assessment is expected in early 2012, with the bill to be published at the end of 2012.

Furthermore, the minister noted that these proposals were merely the recommendations derived from the Energy Report 2011, and that he expects to put forward further legislative proposals implementing EU legislation and regulations and the 'green deals' that he has signed with various market parties in order to support sustainable energy initiatives.

For further information please contact Roland de Vlam or Max WF Oosterhuis at Loyens & Loeff NV by telephone (+31 20 578 5785), fax (+31 20 578 5800) or email ([email protected] or [email protected]).