Netherlands lagging behind most EU countries on renewable energy

Solar Farm (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Thomas R Machnitzki)Solar Farm (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Thomas R Machnitzki)

The Netherlands is still far from reaching the objectives agreed to in the European guideline for Renewable Energy 2020. Of all the EU countries, only France is peforming worse, according to figures released by Statistics Netherlands on Thursday.

In 2009 the EU member states made binding agreements on how much renewable energy will be used in each country by 2020. These commitments were based on data from 2005.

The Netherlands agreed that 14 percent of its energy would come from renewable sources, such as wind, solar or biomass. In 2014 only 5.5 percent of the energy came from renewable sources, putting the Netherlands 8.5 percent away from its target. Only France is further away, with 8.7 percent to go to reach its target.

A third of the EU countries already achieved their agreed upon targets. On average the member states are 4 percent away from reaching the targets.

At 5.5 percent renewable energy, the Netherlands was third from last. Only Malta and Luxembourg had less energy coming from renewable sources, at 4.7 and 4.5 percent respectively. Sweden is the leader with 53 percent of its energy coming from renewable sources.

Statistics Netherlands explains the Netherlands' slow performance to a number of factors. Very little wood, which counts as biomass, is burned in the Netherlands as most Dutch homes have affordable and easy access to natural gas. The position of the Netherlands also means that little hydro energy can be generated. And compared to countries such as Germany and Denmark, the Netherlands has less government support for renewable energy sources.