Netherlands - Country Commercial Guide
Renewable Energy

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

Last published date: 2020-10-10

Overview

The primary focus of Dutch energy policy is carbon reduction through a so-called Energy Transition.  While the Netherlands is not on track to meet the 2020 renewable energy goals set by the EU, it is one of the first EU countries to announce plans to eliminate natural gas from its energy mix.  The current government coalition is committed to a 49 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2030, which would surpass the current EU target. This goal will be reached primarily through the construction of new 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 share of renewable energy in total energy consumption in 2018 was 7.4 percent, up from 6.6 percent in 2017.  Biomass processing accounts for 61 percent of renewable energy production and 23 percent is from wind energy. The contribution of solar energy grew to 8 percent in 2018.   Hydropower, geothermal energy and heat from the outside air contributed 8 percent.  In terms of production statistics, in 2018, more than 18 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity were produced from wind energy, hydropower, solar energy and biomass, equating to 15 percent of total electricity usage.  By 2025 this proportion will have increased to around half, and it will be close to two-thirds by 2030. Conventional production from gas, and later also from coal, will come under pressure.  In these circumstances, the Netherlands will increasingly become a net power exporter.

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. 

Renewable electricity production in the Netherlands

 

2016

2017

2018

Total Renewable Production

15,082

16,670

18,142

Onshore wind

6,041

6,267

6,578

Offshore wind

2,323

3,375

3,452

Hydropower

98

94

94

Solar

1,602

2,204

3,201

Biomass

5,018

4,729

4,817

Renewables as a percentage of total electricity consumption

12.7

13.9

15.0

Units: millions of kWh
Source: Statistics Netherlands (cbs.nl)

Obstacles to growth of renewable energy include the absence of large-scale hydro generation, solar usage, and onshore wind due to population density. 

Leading Sub-Sectors

Solar:  In 2019, the installed capacity of commercial and industrial solar systems exceeded that of home solar systems for the first time. Total installed capacity grew by 2,265 to 6,874 megawatts (MW), a 49-percent increase on the previous year. Business solar installations saw stronger growth (+59 percent) than residential (+39 percent) according to new figures released by Statistics Netherlands (CBS).

Biomass is currently the largest source of renewable energy.  The Dutch government supports development of new technologies for generating biomass energy through the Simulation of Sustainable Energy Production program.

Wind:  Roughly 9.6 percent of average annual electricity demand in the Netherlands is provided by wind energy, and due to ongoing wind farm creation particularly in the North Sea, wind power has experienced the fastest growth of any renewable sector.  In 2019, 2,000 onshore wind turbines generated 8,000 MW of electricity.  The Netherlands successfully issued its first and subsidy-free tender for offshore wind energy in 2017 and 2019, signs of a booming renewable energy sector.  Currently, there are six offshore wind farms off the coast of the Netherlands: Gemini (600 MW), Eneco Lucterduinen (129 MW), Princess Amalia (120 MW), Egmond aan Zee (108 MW), Irene Vorrink (17 MW), Lely (2 MW). The 320 MW Windpark Friesland is scheduled to come online by 2021, and the 760 MW Hollandse Kust Zuid 3 and 4 farms will come online by 2023.

Opportunities

In 2019, offshore wind turbines generated approximately 1 gigawatt of power in total, and this will increase to 4.5 GW in 2023. This commitment is enshrined in the Energy Agreement for Sustainable Growth. Offshore wind turbines will then supply 3.3% of all the energy in the Netherlands.

Dutch firm TenneT will develop five or six 2GW offshore platform grid connection systems for integrating offshore wind parks into the Dutch and German power grid over the next ten years.  Each offshore grid connection will convert 2GW of electricity generated by offshore wind from AC to DC, and will transport this to onshore, where the DC is converted back to AC.  2GW offshore high voltage direct current (HVDC) systems have not yet been developed.  TenneT's objective is to standardize the 2 GW platform design.  They have launched the design phase with five HVDC suppliers based on an innovation partnership.  Participants are GE Renewable Energy, ABB Power Grids, Consortium Global Energy Interconnection Research Institute, Siemens and Xian Electric.  The projects will be realized in 2028. 

Long-term plans are for a total of 11.5 GW of offshore wind by 2030, which will supply 8.5 percent of all the energy in the Netherlands, which is 40 percent of current electricity consumption.

The Dutch government is accelerating collaboration on smart grids with its Intelligent Grids Innovation Program.  To provide a boost to large-scale application, this program has supported 94 pilot projects in residential districts, city centers, office parks, industrial estates, and agricultural areas.

There is a growing number of local energy cooperatives that focus on energy production (particularly collective solar and wind projects) and energy conservation.  In 2015, these cooperatives’ contributions represented only one percent of the total peak power of all solar panels in the Netherlands and three percent of onshore wind energy capacity. These percentages are expected to rise sharply in the coming years, with installed capacity of collective wind projects expected to grow from 82 MW in 2015 to 232 MW by 2019.

Resources

Market  Analyses:         Netherlands 2019 Climate and Energy Outlook Summary

 

SME Resources:          Posted on the website of the Global Energy Team.

 

Contact:              Alan Ras, Commercial Specialist                            

U.S. Commercial Service – The Netherlands

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