Netherlands energy reforms pave way for 2 million residential PV systems

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After months of negotiations, the Netherlands government has reached an agreement on energy policy reforms.

The preliminary draft of the agreement aims for 1-2 million residential PV systems to be installed and 6 to 7GW of wind capacity.

The reforms include a target of an annual 1.5% reduction in the Netherlands’ average energy consumption, using energy efficiency improvements, and for 14% of all energy to come from renewables by 2020.

The agreement focuses on wind and bioenergy as short-term carbon emission reducers, and PV as a long-term solution.

The €50.8 million (US$67.5 million) FiT scheme in Holland for small-scale PV systems reached its funding limit in August, after being inundated with applications.

Final details of what future incentives and tax breaks will be available for solar and other renewables are yet to be finalised under the agreement.

However, it contained details of a €600 million fund for residents seeking energy efficiency enhancements such as double glazing and wall insulation.

A further €400 million in funding is to be provided for housing associations to make energy efficiency changes.

Over 40 groups of environmental and renewable energy associations, local political parties, trade unions and industry associations agreed to the new “Nationaal Energieakkoor” developed by the Dutch Social and Economic Council of the Netherlands (SER).

SER was also successful in pushing for the energy efficiency funding to be added to the agreement as well as a target of 16% renewable energy generation by 2023 target and funding, beyond the 2020 target.

All parties have agreed if the target falls behind, additional measures will be taken to ensure the goals are met on time.

The new agreement also includes closing five coal plants earlier than previously agreed – three are to close in 2016, and two others built in the 1980s are to close in 2017.

Trade association Holland Solar, which took part in the negotiations, said the agreement would create stable conditions for solar growth in the Netherlands. Holland Solar will also guide solar energy reforms later.

SER chairman Wiebe Draijer said “solar energy is booming and full of promise”, calling the agreement “a striking moment” for Holland”.

Minister of economic affairs Henk Kamp added: “I am delighted that it has proved possible to the environmental organisations, electricity producers, employers and employees to agree on the future energy supply in the Netherlands.

“This agreement allows for cleaner energy and more jobs. We will invest in energy, innovation and training. Moreover, the energy bills for citizens and businesses over the coming years will be lower than previously calculated.”

Gerard van Amerongen, president of Holland Solar said the agreement was “a good first step” and solar energy in particular will “greatly contribute to the objectives for energy savings”.

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