In his letter to Parliament of 11 December 2017 the Minister of EACP presented its legislative agenda on energy transition in the Netherlands. This legislative agenda will amend and/or replace existing energy legislation (i.e. the Electricity Act 1998, the Gas Act, the Heat Act and the Mining Act) to promote the energy transition.

This legislative agenda is presented adjacent to new policy (in the Government Coalition Agreement (‘Regeerakkoord‘)) of 10 October 2017) on making the Netherlands more sustainable (such as striving to achieve a 49% reduction of CO2-emissions in 2030).

Below you will find a short recap of the most important plans in the legislative agenda.

Exploration & Production

The Minister plans to amend the Mining Act regarding decommissioning of offshore oil and gas infrastructure. In the view of the Minister, decommissioning will play an important role in the coming years since a major part of these oil and gas installations will reach their economic end-of-life. The Minister will also investigate possibilities of re-use (and other use) of oil and gas infrastructure for offshore wind, carbon capture and storage (CCS), geothermal projects and hydrogen storage. The (draft) bill is planned to be submitted in the second half of next year.

Power & Utilities

Where his predecessor failed to enact one combined ‘Electricity and Gas Act’ (please see our article of 11 January 2016 published on the International Law Office website), the new Minister of EACP is planning again to come to one integrated Energy act.

More specifically, this new act will clarify roles and responsibilities, but also increase flexibility of energy systems by encouraging market parties to develop business cases regarding demand, storage, conversion and other forms of system flexibility. The Minister strives to submit this bill to parliament in 2019.

The Minister also plans to amend the Heat Act. Next to the current bill to amend the Heat Act regarding consumer protection and setting maximum heat tariffs, the Minister plans to submit a bill which entails independent heat system operators, third party access (TPA) and more sustainable heat systems.

Renewable energy (offshore wind)

With regard to renewable energy production, the Minister is also planning on tackling the bottlenecks of the current Offshore Wind Energy Act (OWEA), which regard the procedure of a subsidy-free tender (you will find more information in our EnergyBit of 17 October 2017).

To avoid a delay in the offshore wind energy tender procedures, a ministerial regulation covering tender rules for a subsidy-free tender is applicable to the upcoming offshore wind tender of Hollandse Kust I and II (zuid) (which will open today on 15 December 2017 and will close on 21 December 2017, 17:00h).

Finally, upcoming European legislation such as the Clean Energy (“Winter”) Package also needs to be implemented when entered into force. The Minister will do so accordingly in a separate implementation bill.

In short - according to the Minister himself - a very ambitious legislative agenda is presented. We will keep you informed on the Minister’s plans and future outcomes accordingly.