On Monday 29 October the two largest political parties VVD and PvdA reached a provisional coalition agreement after 46 days of negotiations. In order to respond to climate change and decrease of availability of raw materials, the coalition agreement provides an ambitious sustainable growth strategy. The Netherlands already has a large number of biobased initiatives and the coalition acknowledges that this ‘biobased economy’ may be one of the cornerstones for sustainable growth. The coalition strives to create a balanced and ambitious long term policy, and to create more opportunities for the Dutch business sector on an international level.

The key objectives of the coalition’s energy policy comprise:

  • On a national level, the share of sustainable energy of the total energy generation must be 16% in 2020. In order to reach this target and to stimulate innovation the coalition strives to optimize the use of subsidies (SDE+) and possibly suppliers obligations and blending obligations. A progress report is scheduled for 2016. The funds of the SDE+ will be increased and resources to stimulate co-firing of biomass in coal and gas power plants will be made available.
  • On an international level, the total energy supply in 2050 must be sustainable.
  • In order to prioritize energy saving, the current Green Deals policy will be extended, at least including a deal between energy companies and housing corporations to speed up the improvement of the sustainability level of existing housing. If possible, the cabinet will also remove regulatory obstacles.
  • The introduction of a fiscal incentive for non-subsidized small-scale (solar) energy projects, financed by raising the energy tax.
  • Innovation of offshore wind energy generation and improvement of its transportation infrastructure in order to accelerate the cost price reduction for offshore wind.
  • Stimulation of electric mobility by making arrangements with grid managers, energy companies and local government in relation to the infrastructure for charging points.
  • Optimizing the use of biomass by cascading (the concept of cascading describes the strategy of utilizing products or their components in a comprehensive way within the economic system by a sequence of multiple material and energetic uses) and to guarantee its sustainability and source.
  • To stimulate the market for renewable raw materials and recycling of limited materials.
  • To give more attention to the agricultural sector in relation to opportunities to undertake and rewards for contribution to land development and nature.

The coalition agreement would appear to be a positive development for the energy sector. The national target is raised to 16%. The last coalition employed a target of 14%, before that the national target was 20%. The European norm for the Netherlands is 14% in 2020. The new cabinet plans to spend 212 million euros per annum on energy.

The formulated objectives provide a decent framework for the new energy policy, however further substantiation is required. Moreover, the party leaders proposed this provisional coalition agreement but their parliament members can still comment on its content, which may in their view not include essential party positions. This could lead to further negotiations.

Source Newsflash Energy, 2012, issue 15