MP's want plan to reduce dependence on Russian gas
The Netherlands must move past its dependence on Russian natural gas, says the Tweede Kamer. A motion supported by a large majority of the MPs in the lower house are calling on the Cabinet to draw up a plan "to reduce energy dependence on Russia in the coming years."
The Tweede Kamer also wants a study to clarify how much the Netherlands depends on "countries that are not free" is for its energy on "unfree countries". The Cabinet must report on this annually. Gas imports from Russia is one aspect of the report that the Tweede Kamer wants to review.
Russia is the main supplier of natural gas to the European Union. The Tweede Kamer is disquieted by this, especially now that relations between Russia and the West have become increasingly tense due to the conflict in Eastern Ukraine. During a debate about the Cabinet's climate plans, Russian gas played a prominent role.
Members of the coalition parties VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie, as well as the opposition parties GroenLinks, PvdA, JA21, SGP and PvdD support the motion. It starts with the observation that gas prices are "towering" and that "the Netherlands and Europe are too dependent on Russia". Rob Jetten, the climate and energy minister, made it clear that he also finds it important to become less dependent on fossil fuels from countries such as Russia.
Another motion described the Netherlands "depending on fossil fuels from countries which are not free" as being, "undesirable." That motion was supported by the coalition parties and the SGP. When developing the climate plans, the Cabinet must give priority to becoming "energy independent from not-free countries." The current dependence is "anything but sustainable," the parties said.
During the debate, the Tweede Kamer expressed its concern about economically vulnerable households seeing their energy bills rise. The Cabinet is not making any commitments about compensation schemes at the moment, but will keep that option open. This spring, the Cabinet will examine the purchasing power of citizens and whether more measures are necessary to address inflation and diminished spending power.
An argument against biomass submitted by JA21 has so far only received support from some other opposition parties, who for various reasons consider this a bad choice for energy generation. JA21, SP, PvdD, SGP and Groep Van Haga are totally opposed to new biomass plants in the Netherlands.
Reporting by ANP