Energy firm: Close coal plants to meet greenhouse gas targets

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The Netherlands can be a major contributor to solving the climate problem if all the coal plants in the Netherlands close down.

This is according to Arnoud Kamerbeek, the head of the Zeeland energy company Delta at an energy conference on Thursday, NOS reports. "We can close all the coal plants tomorrow with out compromising the energy supply", he said.

Kamerbeek is reacting to the court's ruling in the Urgenda case on Wednesday. The judge ruled that the Dutch State should reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2025. On the Delta's website, the company writes that it is overjoyed with this ruling. According to Kamerbeek, moving from coal to gas can lead to a 24 percent reduction in CO2 emissions by 2020.

Part of the Energy Agreement states that coal plants built in the 80's should be closed down. Minister Henk Kamp later decided that they may remain open, provided that they meet stringent requirements. Delta will be closing down its only coal plant at the end of this year.

Delta is calling that the coal deal be adjusted. Kamerbeek said that the company will continue to make it clear that gas plants can deliver a lot of profit in the CO2 area. 'Climate change is a major problem which must be acted on quickly. If we don't do so, it will become an uncontrollable problem", he said at the energy conference. "The data used in reports by Glingendael shows that if we continue at present levels, possibly as early as 2025, the emission ceiling will be linked to the 2 degree global warming. This urgency is too high to accommodate polder agreements on coal such as what found their way into the energy agreement. Every year that we wait to take action, or take inadequate action, the challenge is greater."

According to NOS, other energy companies are actually building more coal plants, instead of closing them down. This makes it unlikely that they will follow Kamerbeek's suggestion. A new RWE/Essent coal plant went into operation in Eemshaven last year. Eon and GDF Suez have started building plants on the Maasvlakte.