The Netherlands moves to CO2-based green energy subsidies in €5bn new push

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on email
Minister Wiebes (first from the left) said the shift to CO2-based subsidies stems from a will to deliver Dutch GHG targets by 2030. Image credit: EU2016 SK / Flickr

Solar projects bidding for Dutch state support will for the first time see themselves ranked based on their potential to slash carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, under plans reconfirmed this week.

On Monday, Dutch Economy and Climate minister Eric Wiebes confirmed the ability to slash emissions will be a core parameter of the €5 billion (US$5.41 billion) new wave of renewable energy subsidies set to launch this autumn, as the government had already announced in recent years.

The so-called SDE++ subsidy round – following its SDE+ predecessors, which did not account for CO2 emissions – will be open to PV, wind and many other renewable technologies and will have them compete based on how much state money they require to save per tonne of CO2 (tCO2).

In a letter to Dutch MPs, minister Wiebes explained actual bidding will take place through various stages between 29 September and 22 October 2020. Renewable projects requiring more than €300 (US$324) of subsidies to save one tonne of CO2 will be excluded in principle, the official said.

The ministerial letter offered numbers showing all solar segments lie below the €300/tCO2 threshold. The document assigned PV on buildings (>1MWp) a “subsidy intensity” of €90/tCO2, lower than ground-mounted (€116/tCO2) and floating solar (€175/tCO2) systems.

The actual solar subsidies will also differ on a segment-by-segment basis, the minister’s letter indicates. Ground-mounted PV systems on buildings will be offered basic incentive amounts of €0.069/kWh, rising to €0.074/kWh for PV on buildings and €0.08/kWh for floating installations.

‘Socially desirable’ PV carports in country of land scarcity

The shift to CO2-based incentives follows years of renewable subsidy splurge by the Dutch state. This year’s €5 billion of SDE++ money aside, the government has committed another €5 billion for 2020 carried over from the earlier SDE+ iteration, plus a €1.5-2 billion bonus round.

The transition will SDE++ will see the pot of government money expanded to encompass various emerging renewable technologies, including carbon capture and storage, hydrogen production through electrolysis, industrial residual heat and aquathermy.

According to Wiebes, the scope might be broadened even further in 2021, with green transport fuels and plastic recycling among the potential candidates. All these SDE++ changes stem, the minister said, from the state’s intention to deliver the country’s 49%-by-2030 emission curbing target.

For solar – which has vastly dominated past SDE+ rounds – the shift to SDE++ brings a certain refocusing on carport installations. Going forward, the country will be allowing these systems to bid for support as building-related plants, which are eligible for higher incentives.

The keenness to support what Wieber termed “socially desirable” carports comes as scrutiny builds on ground-mount PV, with worries by Dutch ministers, MPs and regulators that rapid growth may trigger land shortages and choke the grid in a small, densely populated country.

The Netherlands is not the first to embrace renewable subsidies accounting for CO2 reduction potential. In France, ground-mount and rooftop PV projects looking to compete in government auctions must certify their PV components as low-carbon.

The prospects and challenges of solar's new era in the Netherlands and the rest of Europe will take centre stage at Large Scale Solar Europe 2020 (Lisbon, on 31 March-1 April 2020).

Read Next

February 23, 2021
The development of Denmark’s grid will be driven by rising electricity demands from consumers rather than the growing renewables sector, a panel of key figures in the country’s green energy sector have suggested.
February 22, 2021
Pathfinder Clean Energy (PACE) has created a new solar development and project acquisition business, PACE Poland, targeting an initial 100MWp in the country.
February 1, 2021
Polish PV installer Edison Energia aims to procure 200MWp worth of solar PV modules for future installations.
February 1, 2021
Intersolar Europe, the continent’s largest solar PV exhibition, has been postponed by six weeks.
February 1, 2021
Cero Generation, intended to be among the biggest solar development companies in Europe, has been launched by Australian giant Macquarie’s Green Investment Group (GIG).
January 27, 2021
Corporations bought 18% more clean energy last year compared with 2019, according to new research, with tech giant Amazon and oil and gas group Total leading the global energy transition.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Solar Media Events, Upcoming Webinars
March 9, 2021
Solar Media Events
March 17, 2021
Solar Media Events
April 13, 2021
Solar Media Events
April 20, 2021
Solar Media Events
June 15, 2021