Senate voted down wind farm regulation, energy firm bill

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Henk Kamp (Photo: Rijksoverheid.nl/Wikimedia Commons). (Henk Kamp (Photo: Rijksoverheid.nl/Wikimedia Commons))

The Energy bill was rejected with just one vote in the Eerste Kamer, the Dutch Senate, on Tuesday. The smallest possible majority of 38 senators voted against Economic Affairs Minister Henk Kamp's law, which was to regulate offshore wind farms and the unbundling of energy companies. 37 senators voted for, news wire ANP reports.

The vote against the Energy bill was primarily intended as a critique on Kamp for not wanting to undo the proposed unbundling of energy companies Eneco and Delta, according to the news wire. A majority in the Eerste Kamer voted that Kamp should only divide the two companies once other energy companies in other European countries are doing so.

Deldta and Eneco are the only two Dutch companies that generate and supply electricity and have their own cables. They fear that without a network operation they will disappear into a large foreign company.

In the end the Eerste Kamer factions of the CDA, SP, ChristenUnie, PvdD, PVV, 50Plus and one man faction OSF voted against the bill. The SGP, VVD, PvdA, GroenLinks and D66 voted for. GroenLinks stated that they are voting for with "a heavy heart". The party is against the unbundling of the energy companies, but does not want to stand in the way of the plans for sustainable energy.

Interestingly enough, the rejection of the energy bill does not stop the unbundling - that was already established in the previous law. Opposing parties called it a dilemma, but decided that sending Kamp a "signal" was more important.

The rejection of the energy bill may put reaching the targets in the Energy Agreement at risk, as Kamp warned before the vote. Kamp foresees a delay of at least 6 months for the construction of the wind farms, which makes reaching the goal of 14 percent renewable energy by 2020 impossible to reach.

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