Dutch industries reach energy saving agreements

greenhouse gas emissions Frank J. (Frank John) Aleksandrowicz Wikimedia commons

The energy-intensive industries in the Netherlands managed at the last minute to prevent Minister Henk Kamp of Economic Affairs implementing a law on energy saving by coming up with their own energy saving goals and measures to reach them, NOS reports.

Employers organization VNO-NCW helped individual companies such as Shell and Tata Steel make agreements on energy savings. Companies can exchange savings among each other, and if they do not meet their targets they will be fined. Together the companies in the energy intensive metal and steel industries, among others, will implement measures that will save 9 PJ of energy by 2020. That is equivalent to the energy consumption of 135 thousand households. These measures come on top of earlier goals set in the Energy Agreement to save a total of 22 PJ of energy by 2020.

Tata Steel in IJmuiden, for example, will invest in two additional so-called walking furnaces, which drastically lowers the energy needed for producing steel plates. And Shell Pernis is preparing to start using waste heat for heating Rotterdam neighborhoods. 

If the companies do not reach their targets, they will be fined and the Ministry of Economic Affairs will implement a law to force energy savings.

Minister Kamp is confident that the industry will abide by these agreements. He emphasized that the companies involved are keen to contribute to a sustainable society. He does acknowledge, however, that it took a threat with a law to get them there. The announced measures were also met by approval from the Energy Research Center Netherlands (ECN). 

Environmental organization Greenpeace is less optimistic. "It's vague promises", climate campaign leader Joris Wijnhoven said to NOS. "And the industry mostly doesn't hold to those. Last year the Dutch industry's CO2 emissions were at the highest level ever." Wijnhoven hopes that the threat of fines will force companies to take action, but he would have preferred a legal obligation. 


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