Netherlands generates 10 pct. more green energy; still not enough for climate goals

Last year the Netherlands generated 10 percent more energy from renewable sources than in the year before, Statistics Netherlands reported on Friday. Despite this increase, the Netherlands is still far from its goal to be CO2-neutral by 2050.

In 2017 the Netherlands generated a total of 17 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity from renewable sources, compared to 15 billion kWh in 2016. Wind turbines accounted for the biggest share of renewable energy with 60 percent, followed by biomass with almost 30 percent and solar panels with nearly 13 percent. The share of energy generated by hydro power remained limited to half a percent. 

The share of sustainably generated electricity in total electricity consumption increased from 12.5 percent in 2016 to 13.8 percent in 2017, according to the stats office.

The Netherlands wants to be CO2 neutral by 2050. To achieve that goal, the Dutch government wants 14 percent of the energy consumed in the Netherlands to be from renewable sources by 2020, according to the Volkskrant. But that does not only include electricity consumption. It also includes energy needed for heat and transport, Dick ter Steege of Statistics Netherlands said to the newspaper. 

At the moment about 6 percent of all the energy the Netherlands consumes is renewable, Ter Steege said. In 2016 it was 5.97 percent, and in 2015 it was 5.83 percent. Progress therefore is very slow. As things stand now, it seems unlikely that the government will reach is 14 percent renewable energy goal in 2020. 

Last year the production of electricity from wind increased by 16 percent from 8.4 to 9.6 billion kWh. According to the stats office, this is mainly due to substantial expansion of wind farms in the second half of 2016. These new mills were in full operation throughout 2017. The capacity of wind turbines in the Netherlands remained more or less the same last year.

The production of solar panel electricity increased from 1.6 to 2.1 billion kWh last year. The total installed capacity of solar panels increased significantly in 2017 and is currently estimated at more than 2.7 gigawatt, according to Statistics Netherlands.

The generation of biomass energy decreased slightly in 2017. The stats office attributes this to a number biomass installations shifting from electricity to heat production last year.