Dutch MPs want to close a coal power station this year
The caretaker Dutch cabinet must close one of the four coal-power plants in the country this year still, otherwise the Netherlands will not be able to comply with the Urgenda ruling, parties D66, GroenLinks and PvdA said to NOS.
In the Urgenda case, the court ruled that the State has a duty of care to protect and improve the living environment of its citizens. The court therefore ordered the Dutch State to significantly reduce CO2 emissions. The first ruling in this case was six years ago. Urgenda is again busy with legal proceedings, asking that the State be fined up to 2 billion euros if it does not take timely action.
"A deal is a deal," D66 parliamentarian Raoul Boucke said to the broadcaster. "We have to comply with the judge's ruling. The Netherlands is a constitutional state."
Closing a coal plant earlier than planned will have some financial consequences. The energy company that owns the plant will have to be compensated for incurred costs and lost revenue. But according to the parties, these costs are relatively low compared to other measures, and closing a coal-fired power station will cut a whole lot of greenhouse gas emissions.
According to PvdA parliamentarian Joris Thijssen, these energy companies took "a stupid business risk" by continuing to invest in coal. "They saw this coming. I don't think they need to get much from Dutch society."
"Another advantage is that you no longer have to provide a subsidy for the co-firing of biomass in that power station. That money is therefore free," GroenLinks parliamentarian Tom van der Lee said. "The first Urgenda ruling was made six years ago and the verdict is still not being complied with. By closing a power station, we can prevent penalties."
The energy companies themselves calculated what it would cost to accelerate the closure of their coal-fired plants, and according to them it is billions of euros. RWE, for example, wants 1.4 billion euros in compensation if it has to close its coal plant in Eemshaven by 2030.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs made a financial offer to the coal-fired power stations to close quickly. Negotiations are still ongoing, but the Ministry said it won't pay more than 238 million euros, according to NOS. The government is also involved in various legal proceedings with these energy companies. Arbitration cases are pending that could still take months.