Dutch coal-fired plants to reduce output, GHG emissions
30 April 2020 | Trading
Dutch coal-fired power plants will be prompted to lower output this year as part of the country's plan to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 25pc compared with 1990 levels, Dutch energy minister Eric Wiebes said.
The Netherlands aims to reduce its GHG emissions by up to 11 mn t of CO2 equivalent (CO2e) by the end of this year, Wiebes said. Around half of the cuts — 5.5mn-7mn t CO2e — will come from coal-fired plants.
The Dutch government is working on a loss compensation mechanism for the domestic coal-fired generation fleet. Coal-fired plants are expected to remain in a position to absorb supply security risks before their permanent closure by 2030, Wiebes said.
The exact number of reduced operational hours and details of the compensation mechanism are expected to be announced in the next few weeks, German utility RWE told Argus. The firm operates the 1.6GW Eemshaven coal-fired and 645MW Amer biomass and coal co-fired plants in the Netherlands.
Emissions from Dutch coal-fired plants totalled 13mn t CO2e last year, down from an average of 18m t CO2 in 2016-18, verified GHG emissions data for the EU emissions trading system (ETS) show (see chart). This was in line with a decline in Dutch coal-fired output, which fell to 17TWh in 2019 from 27TWh a year earlier.
Dutch coal-fired output and emissions were bound to fall this year as Swedish utility Vattenfall permanently shut its 650MW Hemweg 8 unit in December last year. Coal-fired output has averaged 1.25GW so far this year, down from 1.91GW in the same period a year earlier. But the government's emissions plan suggests coal-fired output may have to fall further over the remainder of the year.
The new GHG reduction plan follows a court ruling requiring the Dutch government to revise its previous targets. The Dutch supreme court ordered the government in December to reduce GHG emissions by a quarter, in line with an earlier ruling in the case brought by environmental group Urgenda. The government was initially seeking to reduce GHG emissions by 17pc by the end of this year.