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New Dutch government eyes coal phase-out by 2030

10 Oct 2017, 7.15 pm GMT

New Dutch government eyes coal phase-out by 2030

London, 10 October (Argus) — The new Dutch government plans to close all remaining coal-fired power plants by 2030 at the latest and is looking at introducing a minimum price for CO2 in the power sector, under a coalition agreement published today.

Prime minister Mark Rutte's centre-right VVD party has reached a coalition agreement with the CDA, D66 and Christenunie parties after lengthy negotiations in the aftermath of general elections in March.

The new partners agreed to implement a national climate and energy law that will aim to reduce Dutch greenhouse gas emissions by 49pc in 2030 against a 1990 baseline for now, subject to upward revisions should the EU adopt tougher targets, under the coalition agreement.

The new coalition government estimates that the Netherlands will have to cut an additional 56mn t CO2 equivalent (CO2e) by 2030 relative to the status quo to achieve the 49pc reduction, which includes a further 20mn t CO2e cut in the electricity sector. The new government will start negotiations with each sector regarding the timetable of emissions cuts when drawing up the national climate and energy agreement, it said.

The government wants all remaining coal-fired plants in the country to close by 2030 at the latest, it said in the coalition agreement. This is a departure from the previous government's position, which in January said that it does not plan to force the shutdown of any additional capacity beyond coal-fired plants with an efficiency below 40pc.

Coal-fired power plants with a combined capacity of 4.6GW are still operational. This includes four units with a combined capacity of nearly 4.1GW that have high efficiencies of 46pc and only came on line in 2015.

The new coalition wants to introduce "a minimum price for CO2 for the electricity sector" to incentivise emissions cuts. The coalition agreement does not detail the planned level for the minimum price or the timeline for its introduction.

The government plans to accelerate the country's wind and solar power expansion and to expand support under the country's SDE+ auctions to other CO2-reduction technologies such as carbon capture and storage (CCS). Government support for biomass co-firing projects involving coal-fired plants will be withdrawn from 2025, under the coalition agreement.

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