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The Netherlands: Energy accord opens for pellets expansion

The Dutch energy accord pfoto from SER

The Dutch energy accord photo from SER

Impact of Dutch Energy Accord on cofiring

The Dutch government and more than 40 organizations has September 6 signed the Energy Agreement for Sustainable Growth. It is an agreement between the state and the organizations regarding the development for sustainable energy and an attempt to create a solid policy. The agreement has been grandfathered by SER,  the Dutch Socio-Economic Council.

The aim is to support the government goal of a fully sustainable energy system by 2050. It has 10 basic sectors.  including saving of 1.5 % of energy annually. The use of renewable energy will with the program increase from 4.4 percent to 14% in 2020 and expand  further  to 16 percent in 2023. The agreement includes the clousure of five older coal plants built in the 80’s. This will take away some possible cofiring and conversion markets for biomass. Some environmental organsiations, (ClientEarth, Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth Netherlands), has opposed the possibility to prolong the life of those plants, especially strong opposition against the large EPZ (Borssele) an intended 100 percent conversion of a 400 MW power plant to biomass, similar the UK Tilbury plant.

Biomass

The agreement discusses several aspects and regarding biomass for power it opens up for a further expansion but puts a cap for cofiring with coal of 25 PJ (petajoule). A calculation leeds to a possible expansion of up to 3-5 millions tons of pellets in this sector. Today 1.5 millions tons are used.

Funding possible

According to the US administrations GAIN report, the accord also calls for funding biomass cofiring through the Support Sustainable Energy Production program. The funding is expected to be available from 2014 through 2023, with availability limited to power plants build after the 1990s.

Calls for new standards

In addition, the report specifies that the accord calls for new standards for biomass sustainability, which will include carbon debt, indirect land change (ILUC) and sustainable forest management. The new requirements are scheduled to be complete before the end of 2014.

A summary of the Dutch report made by the organizers SER can be downloaded here.

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