by the CADDET Dutch National Team and Ministry of Economic Affairs of the Netherlands

INTRODUCTION

The Dutch government, in its third White Paper on Energy Policy of December 1995, set an ambitious target for renewable energy. By the year 2020, 10% of the energy consumption in the Netherlands must be supplied by renewable sources. The present figure is 1%.

Many bottlenecks must be removed in order to raise that share. An active government policy is required to reach 10% by 2020. In "Renewable Energy Advancing Power; Action Programme for 1997-2000" the Minister of
Economic Affairs describes the activities which have already been initiated in order to progressively broaden the role of renewable energy in Dutch energy supply.

Picture

Solar panels and solar collectors in the newly-built area 'Nieuwland' near the town of Amersfort

In addition, it identifies the subjects which require short-term decisions to permit still further progress. These are not only subjects relating to renewable energy in the general sense, but also bottlenecks more specifically concerned with certain forms of renewable energy.

If the energy economy has to have a more sustainable character, it is necessary for renewable energy sources to be developed and applied. At the same time, increasingly rational use must be made of energy and materials. Other energy sources must be further improved in a more sustainable direction in support of efficient, clean and safe energy generation.

The grounds for this are both economic and environmental in nature:

  • European dependence on a limited number of energy-exporting countries will increase;
  • future generations will have fewer alternative options than we do;
  • production and consumption of fossil fuels are continuing to grow with their emissions of harmful substances;
  • the threatening global climate problem.

A substantial and growing share of renewable energy together with maximised efficiency of energy consumption is the best way to achieve a reliable, clean and affordable energy economy in the longer term as well. The policy on energy conservation is focused on the energy demand side, and is intended to reduce energy consumption per unit of performance. The policy promoting renewable energy aims at the supply side. In everyday practice, there is of course a considerable correlation between these two areas of policy: many instruments promote both energy conservation and renewable energy, while certain applications of renewable energy can be suitably combined with conservation measures. In a more general way, it may be stated that neither can do without the other: it makes no sense to promote renewable energy without utilising it as efficiently as possible afterwards.

In addition, promoting the development and application of renewable energy offers opportunities for Dutch suppliers of products and services, also as a basis for exports to developed and developing countries. These advantages are on the horizon, but not yet within immediate reach. All parties involved will have to work hard towards that goal. The Dutch government will provide a substantial contribution.

Dutch Government policy has three main themes:

  • improving the price-performance ratio;
  • promoting market penetration;
  • dealing with administrative bottlenecks.
Picture

The price-performance ratio of renewable energy options will have to be improved by further development of existing and new technologies. This will enable technologies which are at the moment not ripe for the market to become economic and enter the market. That is not a spontaneous process, and it will take time. This will require a considerable effort on the part of government and other parties concerned. As a first step NLG 50 million has been allocated to increase the R,D&D budget for renewable energy starting in 1997 (where NLG is the Dutch guilder). It is also necessary to improve co-ordination with third-party funded research efforts.

The share of renewable energy can increase year by year if we make sure that renewable energy options which are not yet economic can nevertheless compete with fossil energy. That will also enable a volume growth in equipment manufacture resulting in a further improvement of the price-performance ratio. Fiscal instruments are an essential means towards such a promotion of market penetration, on which the efforts of energy distribution also focus. In time, market penetration can also be supported by introducing a mandatory minimum share of renewable energy in the supply of energy to end-users.

Finally, barriers of an administrative nature may interfere with the application of renewable energy. In particular one can think of the spatial integration of wind turbines and the way in which biomass is treated in environmental legislation. Impediments of this nature will have to be removed.

To give some international perspective, Table 1 shows the shares of the various energy sources in the domestic consumption (1994) of a number of European
countries.

Table 1: Share of energy sources in the domestic consumption of a number of European countries

 

Belgui m

Germany

France

Netherlands

UK

Coal

18.7

28.9

6.2

12.5

22.0

Oil

39.7

39.9

35.8

36.3

38.9

Gas

19.2

18.3

12.1

47.3

27.4

Nuclear

20.8

11.0

40.3

1.4

10.4

Renewable

0.9

1.8

8.0

1.2

0.6

Import/Export Balance

0.7

0.1

-2.4

1.3

0.7

Total

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

Source: Eurostat, CBS (1994)

The Dutch Action Programme outlines a broad range of actions needed to enlarge the share of renewable energy in the Dutch energy supply. Financial incentives form a part of that range. Besides fiscal measures and the contributions allocated by other ministries for the promotion of renewable energy, contributions are drawn from the Ministry of Economic Affairs' budget in support of R,D&D and application of renewable energy. The figures show an increase from NLG 71 million in 1996 to NLG 110 million in 1999/2000. On top of that, the government will allocate additional funds for energy within the framework of the CO2 reduction plan.

The action programme concentrates on the efforts required over the coming four years to enable the target for 2020 to be achieved. The year 2000 is the first reference point on that road: renewable energy will then have to account for about 3% of energy consumption in the Netherlands. Efforts which by definition are of a long-term nature, such as R&D, will only begin to bear fruit in the 21st century. Other instruments will have to produce tangible results earlier, and a number of these are already having an effect. Table 2 quantifies the potential contributions of each renewable energy source in the Netherlands.

Table 2: Potential contributions of each renewable energy source

Renewable energy source (contribution in PJ*)

2000

2007

2020

Wind Energy

16

33

45

Photovoltaic solar energy

1

2

10

Thermal solar energy

2

5

10

Geothermal energy

-

-

2

Aquifer energy storage

2

8

15

Ambient heat

7

50

65

Hydropower

1

3

3

Waste and biomass

54

85

120

Total

83

186

270

Imported Norwegian hydropower

-

18

18

Total including imports

83

204

288

* fossil fuel saved

For more information contact the CADDET Dutch National Team in Sittard.

The CADDET Renewable Energy Newsletter is a quarterly magazine published by the CADDET Centre for Renewable Energy at ETSU, UK.

The articles published in the Newsletter reflect the opinions of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the official view of CADDET.

Enquiries concerning the Newsletter should be addressed to
Pauline Toole, Editor, CADDET Centre for Renewable Energy, ETSU, Harwell, Oxfordshire OX11 0RA, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 1235 432968, Fax: +44 1235 433595.