Closing Netherlands' coal plants to cost €3.3 billion

Overzicht_van_de_kerncentrale_-_Borssele_-_20425804_-_RCE
The power generation facility at Borssele, Zeeland includes nuclear, coal, and biomass power plants (photo: Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed / Wikimedia Commons). (The power generation facility at Borssele, Zeeland includes nuclear, coal, and biomass power plants (photo: Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed / Wikimedia Commons))

Closing the five coal-fired power plants in the Netherlands by 2020 will cost energy companies 3.3 billion euros, according to a report by energy specialist consultancy Spring Associates. Consumers will hardly notice the closure, with only an about 14 euro increase in the average household's annual energy bill, Financieele Dagblad reports.

Spring Associates studied the effects of closing the coal plants at the request of Greenpeace Nederland and the European Climate Foundation, but stresses that the conclusions are completely those of the authors.

The Netherlands currently counts five coal power plants, two from the 90's and three opened recently. According to the report, together they are worth about 3.7 billion euros - the new plants 3.2 billion euros and the old ones about 500 million euros. This is significantly lower than what was invested in them. Around 6 billion euros was invested in the new plants alone.

"If all the coal plants are required to close from 2020, there is still 400 million euros in value left. The loss of value in this case is 3.3 billion euros", according to the report. The 400 million euros in residual values lies in, among other things, tax benefits when plants are depreciated too quickly.

The Netherlands is faced with a number of climate and emissions targets that would be much easier to reach without the coal plants. One such a court ruling in a lawsuit filed by environmental organization Urgenda last year. The that the government must ensure that CO2 emissions is a quarter lower in 2020 than they were in 1990. According to the report, this target will not be reached by closing only the coal plants dating from the 90's.

"With this we do not want to make any statement over compensation for energy companies", Ebel Kemeling, director of Spring Associates, said to the newspaper. But he does feel amounts are worth mentioning in the debate on what to do with the coal plants. "There are parties that say the coal plants are worth nothing. That is not true. And the companies that own the plants, you need them."

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