Since the last review in 2008, the Netherlands has attracted investment in oil and gas storage; coal, oil and gas import terminals; and efficient power plants. This additional capacity provides flexibility and energy security both in the Netherlands and across EU markets. However, the outlook for Europe’s second-largest producer of natural gas is challenging amid declining gas production and uncertain prospects for unconventional gas. Developing the remaining natural gas potential, the market integration and ensuring the security of supply and resilience of the energy infrastructure during the transition should be top priorities.
The Netherlands stimulates energy efficiency and innovation in energy-intensive industries along the whole supply chain, notably in the Dutch refining, petrochemical and agriculture sectors, a practice that contributes to industrial competitiveness.
Despite successful decoupling of greenhouse-gas emissions from economic growth between 1990 and 2012, however, the Netherlands remains one of the most fossil-fuel- and CO2-intensive economies among IEA countries. In September 2013, the Netherlands reached an agreement with key stakeholders on priority actions to support sustainable economic growth through 2020. In addition to implementing the agreement, the government must set the scene for a stable policy framework up to 2030, which is also crucial for renewable energies.
The Netherlands has accelerated permit procedures for new energy infrastructure and is driving technology cost reduction with reformed renewable support. The country can benefit from further interconnections with neighbouring countries, as renewables become an integral part of wholesale and balancing electricity markets in the EU.
This review analyses the energy policy challenges currently facing the Netherlands, and provides recommendations for each sector. It gives advice on implementing the Energy Agreement and how to leverage international opportunities from clean energy technologies.