Offshore, Project Development, Wind Power

Dutch Government Seeks to Speed Development of Renewable Energy

The Dutch government said this week it would try to speed development of green energy and repeated hopes to open the small consumer energy market to competition in 2003.

AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands 2002-03-01 [SolarAccess.com] A report from Economics Minister Annemarie Jorritsma to the Dutch parliament, calls for a massive buildup of wind energy in the country, boosting capacity from land-based wind power to 1,500 MW by 2010 and sea-based wind farms to 6,000 MW by 2020. “The development of sustainable energy management must become a combined effort of the government, the business community and other parties,” the ministry said in a statement. Currently, the Netherlands has about 500 MW of land-based wind-power capacity, and none on the water, although two planned offshore wind parks would add 220 MW to the grid. Jorritsma’s report also focused on building up biomass as an alternative fuel for coal-fired power stations. The government pledged 35 million euros (US$30.51 million) to help offset investment risks associated with four projects currently in development with the private sector. Those projects include efforts to boost efficiency in the power sector, raise biomass utilization volumes, develop new natural gas sources and boost renewables use in the industrialized Rhine region. Another 20 million euros will go toward marketing and promotion of Renewable Energy, according to the report. Jorritsma also reiterated her hope that the liberalization in the electricity and gas sectors which began in 1999 would be finalized at the start of 2003 with the full opening of the household and small business segment. The market opening, part of the Netherlands’ move to comply with EU directives, started by allowing large consumers to choose their power suppliers in 1999 and was expanded to about 65,000 mid-sized companies from January 1, 2002. About 500 large natural gas consumers are also allowed to switch suppliers. Under the current law, small end-users will only be free to choose their own supplier in 2004, although a government-industry body is expected to recommend in the coming months on whether to move that date forward. Households which opt for renewable energy were permitted to choose their own suppliers as of July 1, 2001.