In the Netherlands, RE contributed less than two percent of the total energy production in 1995. The main contribution came from biomass and waste. It is estimated that fuelwood for home heating amounts to about 0.6 percent of primary energy production.
A. INSTITUTIONAL ASPECTS
A.1. - POLICIES, STRATEGIES AND PROJECTS
A whole scale of regulations and programmes exist to promote RE production and R&D activities. Targets are set for the contribution of RE: three percent by 2000 and 10 percent by 2020. Policy lines to reach these goals are:
· Cost price reduction by stimulating R&D activities
· Removing non technical barriers
· Create a market by fiscal measures.
There is a national energy policy that supports RE. The energy policy administered by a department within the Ministry of Economic Affairs, aims to provide support for the optimisation of energy consumption and meeting national needs. In the Dutch Government support of RE, bioenergy represents only a small share.
There is no a specific agricultural policy concerning biomass and the development of non-food crops.
The true driving force for bioenergy is to be found in environmental policy. Atmospheric emissions are strictly regulated. The Netherlands has a National Environmental Policy Plan that is revised every four years on the basis of a survey of the State of the environment update every two years by the National Institute of Public Health on Environmental Protection.
A.2. - THE ROLE OF TECHNICAL AGENCIES
Governmental Organisations involved:
RE is a matter of concern to three different Ministries:
· Ministry of Economic Affairs
· Ministry of Housing, Land use planning and the Environment
· Ministry of Agriculture, Nature management and Fisheries.
Every ministry is competent and responsible for specific areas of interest35.
· NOVEM - the Dutch Agency for Energy and the Environment, the body responsible for implementing the programmes of the Government Ministries. The Government owns it 100 percent. The agency addresses energy and environment issues and receives more than 80 percent of its funding from the Energy department of the ministry of Economic Affairs.
Non Governmental Organisations involved:
· CLM - the Centre for Agriculture and Environment, is an independent organisation whose aim is to stimulate a sustainable agriculture. It links research, actual practice and policy, farmers and several NGOs.
· BTG - the Biomass Technology Group, a private company consisting of consultants specialising in energy. Its fields of activity are biomass production, feasibility studies for private operators and implementation of projects.
· ECN - the Dutch Foundation for Energy Research, develops technological energy systems, which are safe, clean, and efficient.
· KEMA is an international engineering company operating within the scopes of energy and environment. An increasing part of its activity is focused on wood waste.
· EPON is a power utility managing seven power plants. It resorted to wood-fuel as a way of reducing the CO2 emissions from its power plants.
_ FINANCIAL REGULATIONS
In the Netherlands there is a shift from subsidies to fiscal incentives for RE.
FINANCIAL INCENTIVES FOR THE PRODUCTION OF ENERGY CROPS:
The "set-aside" scheme exists and consists of an annual area payment ranging from 357-502 EURO.
Payment scheme for afforestation on arable land (SBL regulation) is available for energy crops. It consists of a stand establishment subsidy. Green funds are accepted in most RE projects. Money is made available at a lower interest rate and the interest gained from green funds is income tax-free for investors.
VAMIL is the accelerated depreciation on environmental investments. The company can write off investment at an earlier date than normal, reducing the company's profit and tax payments. Tax deduction for investments in RE: companies interested in RE projects can reduce their taxable profit with a percentage of the invested sum.
The Energy from Waste and Biomass Programme (EWAB) supports innovative demonstration projects.
FINANCIAL INCENTIVES FOR THE CONVERSION OF ENERGY CROPS:
Green Funds, VAMIL, tax deductions, and EWAB support are also available for the conversion of energy crops.
FINANCIAL INCENTIVES FOR THE UTILISATION OF ENERGY FROM ENERGY CROPS:
Within the Environmental Action Plan, energy companies are allowed to raise the energy price 0.0-2.5 percent for funding of CO2 reduction or energy conservation projects in agreement with the Ministry of Economic Affairs.
Green electricity is a commercial way of selling RE. At some utilities, green electricity is sold at 0.02-0.03EURO/kWh above the normal price. The additional sum is used to pay the producers of renewable electricity.
In 1996 an energy tax on fossil fuels was introduced. No wood fuel standards exist but wood is classified as "freshwood" or "old wood", the latter being seen as a waste.
Interest in the Netherlands for bioenergy results from the intersection of several sector policies. While agricultural policy plays a secondary role, energy, and environmental policies, particularly waste management and reduction of CO2 emissions, are strong factors in the development of bioenergy. In this framework bioelectricity is seen as promising, because it could be cost-effective in the medium term36. At the national level biomass resources based on dedicated crops will apparently remain marginal in the medium term. Inversely, biomass residues are likely to generate 500MWe by the year 2000.
35 NOVEM- AFB-NETT Phase III- "Summary of achievements in the Netherlands" National co-ordinates Report
36 ADEME - EU Commission DGXVII, "Biomass R&D Strategies"