Netherlands - Country Commercial Guide
Energy

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2021-11-09

Overview

The current energy mix in the Netherlands is natural gas (38%), oil (35%), coal (11%), biofuels and waste (5%), and 11% from nuclear, wind, solar, hydropower and geothermal.  The country has one nuclear power plant and one LNG terminal.

The primary focus of Dutch energy policy is carbon reduction through a so-called Energy Transition.  The Netherlands was one of the first EU countries to announce plans to eliminate natural gas from its energy mix altogether.  The current (caretaker) government coalition is committed to a 49 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2030. This goal will be reached primarily through the construction of offshore wind farms in the North Sea.  Other important aspects of Dutch government policy include closing the Netherlands’ sole nuclear power plant by 2024 and encouraging increased use of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies by factories, power plants, and waste incinerators.

The Netherlands was until recently, ranked 27th out of 27 EU countries in the production of energy from renewable sources.  However, according to Statistics Netherlands, renewable energy consumption accounted for 11.1 percent of total Dutch energy consumption in 2020.  This was up from 8.8 percent in 2019. The increase was largely due to rising solar and wind power capacity. Consumption of biomass was up as well, particularly co-firing at coal-fired power plants. 

Energy Mix of the Netherlands

 

Coal

Oil

Natural gas

Biofuels

Waste

Nuclear

Hydro

Solar PV

Wind

Other sources

Units

1990

27499

3064

36529

126

933

3502

85

 

56

174

GWh

1995

30022

2814

42011

295

1303

4018

88

2

317

286

GWh

2000

27114

2641

51522

720

2481

3926

142

8

829

247

GWh

2005

26928

2262

57599

3991

2694

3997

88

35

2067

262

GWh

2010

25800

1253

75333

5279

3327

3969

105

56

3993

154

GWh

2015

42231

1330

47273

2937

3630

4077

93

1109

7550

150

GWh

2019

20006

1404

71241

3699

3803

3910

74

5159

11508

547

GWh

Source: https://www.iea.org/countries/the-netherlands  

Leading Sub-Sectors

Wind: According to Statistics Netherlands, wind energy consumption rose by 29 percent in 2020. The main reason is the increased installed capacity of offshore wind turbines with the activation of a new wind farm. Total wind turbine capacity increased from 4,500 megawatts (MW) at the end of 2019 to 6,600 MW at the end of 2020.  An additional roll-out of offshore wind over the period 2023-2030 and a continued increase in the contribution of solar power will likely lead to strong growth in the proportion of renewable electricity in national electricity production. Eight additional offshore projects are supposed to add 65GW more to the mix by 2050, although that is not confirmed.

Biomass: At 54 percent, biomass is the single largest source of renewable energy in the Netherlands, and consumption rose by 10 percent in 2020 compared to 2019, largely due to the increased use of biomass at coal-fired power stations. The use of biogas and solid and liquid biomass in boilers at companies was up as well.   A large part of the bio-based transport fuels that are put on the Dutch market have been produced from used cooking oil.

CCS and Hydrogen: The Netherlands is looking at ways to utilize existing natural gas infrastructure and reduce carbon emissions intensity by blending gas from fossil sources with gas produced from biomass and “blue” or “green” hydrogen gas.  They are a world leader in pilot projects to produce and use hydrogen in specific applications such as the chemical industry and heavy transport.  This year, the government tasked state-owned network operator Gasunie with developing plans to repurpose the existing natural gas pipeline network into a hydrogen gas network. 

The U.S. Department of Energy and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy in 2020 signed a statement of intent to collaborate on hydrogen technology.  Through this effort, real-world data from hydrogen applications will be gathered to guide both organizations’ future hydrogen research and development and demonstration activities.  

Opportunities

One of the most important instruments to drive emissions reductions is the Stimulation of Sustainable Energy Production (SDE++) support scheme, which uses competitive auctions to award operational subsidies to renewable energy projects. From 2011 to 2020, SDE+ allocated EUR 60 billion of subsidies, which are paid out over a period of up to 15 years based on the amount of renewable energy generated. In 2020, SDE+ was expanded into the Sustainable Energy Transition Incentive Scheme (SDE++), which uses a similar auction process to award subsidies to a wider set of technologies based on avoided CO2 emissions, including carbon capture and storage (CCS) and low-carbon hydrogen.

SDE subsidies are available for the production of:

• renewable electricity;

• renewable gas;

• renewable heat or combined heat and power (CHP);

• CCS.

Companies, institutes and (non-profit) organizations that intend to produce renewable energy can apply for the subsidy. Only the intended producer may apply for the SDE.  The SDE compensates for the difference between the cost price and the market value of the energy supplied. The maximum

SDE+ contribution is therefore equal to the base amount minus the correction amount.

SDE++ is intended for companies and organizations (non-profit and otherwise) in sectors including industry, mobility, electricity, agriculture, and the built environment. This new scheme not only stimulates sustainable energy production but also CO2-reduction.  SDE++ 2021 is open from 5 October to 11 November 2021, and a budget of € 5 billion is available.

Resources

Market  Analyses: Netherlands 2020 Climate and Energy Outlook Summary

Contact: Alan Ras, Commercial Specialist                                           

U.S. Commercial Service – The Netherlands

Alan.Ras@trade.gov | +31 70 310 2418