Dutch need to spend extra €13 billion on windmills

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It is unrealistic to expect that the Netherlands will reach the renewable energy goals in the National Energy Accord for 2020 and 2023 as things stand now. 

This is according to the Court of Audit's study Promoting sustainable energy production (SDE+) - feasibility and affordability of policy goals, which was released on Thursday. The agreed goals for the Netherlands are 14 percent renewable energy by 2020 and 16 percent by 2013. According to the report, Minister Henk Kamp of Economic Affairs will have to make some decisions soon if the Netherlands hopes to meet the agreements.

The study shows that an additional 12.8 billion euros will have to be set aside for new offshore wind farms in the next to years. That is on top of the 58.9 billion that has already been reserved for this between 2011 and 2023. This will mean between 65 and 100 euros per year extra on the energy bill for the average Dutch household.

An alternative would be to change the SDE+ scheme so that it is possible to also subsidize renewable energy projects in other EU countries with Dutch money. However, this would mean the loss of employment benefits and knowledge building in the Netherlands. Other options such as more energy conservation and investing in innovative technologies for energy generation is not sufficiently effective on the short term to be feasible.

In a reaction Minister Henk Kamp said that he still thinks that the goals can be reached in time. He thinks it is too early to intervene and is awaiting the evaluation of the Energy Accord in 2016.

In its afterword, the Court of Auditors writes that recent policy changes will at most lead to somewhat lower costs, and not to increasing production of renewable energy. According to the court, postponing the decision making until 2016 will be too late to meet the targets within the agreed time frame.