Renewable energy in the Netherlands

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Despite the historic usage of wind power to drain water and grind grain, the Netherlands lags behind most EU countries in the production of energy from renewable sources. The leading renewable sources are biomass, wind, solar and geothermal power. In 2014, the Netherlands produced only 5.5% of its total energy from renewables, a small rise from from 3.7% in 2010 and just 1% in 1990.[1] Among the EU countries, only Malta and Luxembourg had lower percentages.[2]

The low take up of renewable energy my be partially explained by the flat and often sub-sea level landscape and subsequent limits to hydropower resources as well as little natural geothermal potential, although hydro poor resource countries such as Denmark have still managed to make renewables the focus of their energy needs. In 2015, Dutch wind turbines had a total nameplate capacity of 3,431 MW.[3] Most of the tiny contribution made to electricity generation by hydroelectricity came from three power plants.

A large part of the renewable electricity sold in the Netherlands comes from Norway, a country which generates almost all its electricity from hydropower plants. In the Netherlands, household consumers can choose to buy renewable electricity. Since 2008, the amount of renewable energy used by household users has been increasing, rising from 38% in 2008 to 41% by 2009. and up to 44% by mid 2010.[4]

One interesting source of heat recovery used in the Netherlands is sourced from freshly milked milk, or warm milk. However at 0.3% of total renewable energy production[1] (2010 figures) this source is not likely to accelerate energy transition in the country. Warm milk is still not mentioned in the EU Renewable Energy Directive, nor in international energy statistics and so is not included is gross final consumption figures. It does however provide Dutch farmers with plenty of hot water, who in turn may return the benefit to their comfortably cleaned cows.

Recent trends in renewable energy[edit]

The Netherlands has a minimum target of 14% of renewable energy use by 2020. The sectoral targets for 2020 break down into national targets of 8.7% in the heating and cooling sector, 37 % in the electricity sector and 10.3% in the transport sector although these figures may be slightly different from those implied by the minimum trajectory path.[5] The following table shows the actual results recorded of renewable energy use by sector:

Renewable energy by sector 2009-2014[6]
2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Heating and cooling sector 3.4% 3.1% 3.7% 3.9% 4.1% 5.2%
Electricity sector 9.1% 9.6% 9.8% 10.4% 10.0% 10.0%
Transport sector 4.2% 3.0% 4.5% 4.5% 4.6% 5.7%
TOTAL 4.3% 3.9% 4.5% 4.7% 4.8% 5.5%

Actual overall renewable energy use grew from 4.3% in 2009 to 5.5% by 2014. The minimum trajectory planned for 2013-2014 was 5.9% and for 2015-2016 7.6% of total energy use. The Netherlands is regarded as amongst the most likely countries to miss 2020 national renewable energy targets as outlined by the Renewable Energy Directive.

Sources[edit]

Installed wind power. Source GWEC Global Wind Report 2015
Year Cumulative Capacity (in MW)
2001
481
2002
682
2003
908
2004
1,078
2005
1,224
2006
1,561
2007
1,749
2008
2,149
2009
2,225
2010
2,218
2011
2,272
2012
2,391
2013
2,713
2014
2,865
2015
3,431

Wind power[edit]

2015 was a record year for new wind turbine installations totalling 586 MW bringing the totalled installed capacity to 3,431 MW by year end. 180 MW of the new installations were offshore.[7] The Dutch government has a target of 6,000 MW of onshore wind power by 2020 and 4,450 MW of offshore wind power by 2023.[7]

In 2010, the Netherlands had 1973 wind turbines including 98 in two offshore windfarms. Flevoland was the leading province for wind energy with Groningen second in capacity and production.The wind capacity installed at end 2010 will, in a normal wind year, produced 4.1% of electricity, when the equivalent value for Germany was 9.4% and Portugal 14%.[8]

Solar power[edit]

Cumulative installed capacity of solar PV power reached a preliminary estimate of 1.57 GW by 2015 year end, with 450 MW added in that year alone.[9]

in 2010.the Netherlands had 88 MW of solar electricity and 98 MW of manure digesters. [1]

Warm milk[edit]

In 2010 740,000 dairy cows (about half of the total) provided 277 Tj of heat energy avoiding 18,000 ton of CO2 emmissions.[1]

Climate change[edit]

According to the ex Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, the Netherlands use annually 1-1.5 billion € (0.3% of national income) to protect against the risks of the sea level rise. Many areas are under sea level in the Netherlands and are protected by dam and dikes.[10] The Netherlands supported in 2010 raising the European Union emission restrictions from 20% to 30%; however, the Netherlands has only committed to reaching the minimum 14% goal for itself.[1]

Historical trends 1990-2011[edit]

The main sources of renewable energy up to 2011 were from biomass and wind power. Solar power was marginal with only 143 MW installed capacity by 2011. Energy from hydroelectric sources in 2011 was only marginally greater than that provided from heat extracted from warm milk.

Renewable energy in the Netherlands (by source, in TWh) [1][11]
Type 1990 1995 2000 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
Biomass 5.64 6.19 7.11 11.7 12.6 14.9 16.1 18.6 17.8 19.1
Wind 0.06 0.31 0.75 2.03 2.54 3.17 3.93 4.48 4.50 4.73
Geothermal 0 0 0.06 0.2 0.2 0.31 0.44 0.53 0.67 0.78
Aerothermal 0 0 0.03 0.1 0.2 0.25 0.33 0.44 0.53 0.64
Solar 0.03 0.06 0.1 0.25 0.25 0.28 0.28 0.31 0.33 0.39
Hydro 0.09 0.09 0.10 0.10 0.10 0.10 0.10 0.10 0.10 0.10
Warm milk* NA 0.040 0.046 0.051 0.051 0.057 0.065 0.072 0.077 0.082
RE % = (production of RE / use) * 100% Note: Rounding errors may be present due to conversion from original source reported in PJ, European Union calculates the share of renewable energies in gross electrical consumption.
Warm milk represent heat recovered from fresh milk during cooling by heat exchange.

Total renewable energy use was just 1.1% of overall energy use in 1990. The electricity sector first overtook the heating and cooling sector in 2005 in terms of total renewable energy use.

Renewable energy in the Netherlands (by use, in TWh) [1]
1990 1995 2000 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
Electricity 0.81 1.4 2.86 7.44 7.86 7.33 9.22 10.8 11.7
Heat 5.00 5.25 5.28 6.86 7.56 8.08 8.67 9.36 9.61
Transport 0 0 0 0.03 0.50 3.61 3.33 4.33 2.67
Total 5.81 6.69 8.17 14.3 15.9 19.0 21.2 24.5 24.0
Renewable percent of
total use
1.1% 1.2% 1.4% 2.3% 2.6% 3.1% 3.4% 4.1% 3.7%
Note: Rounding errors may be present due to conversion from original source reported in PJ

See also[edit]

References[edit]