Top Ten Highlights of Cleantech in the Netherlands


The Netherlands set up a climate policy where it will reach a global target of five percent renewable energy by the year 2010 and 10 percent by the year 2020. In line with the European Union Directive, the electricity production via renewable energy sources in the Netherlands needs to reach nine percent of gross electricity consumption by 2010. Main supporting policies in the Netherlands includes source specific premium tariffs, energy tax exemptions, and guarantee of originals system. Biomass and wind energy are the two predominant renewable sources of energy used in the country. However, the Netherlands is looking to increase its renewable energy consumption.

1) Netherlands to Make Huge Investments into Renewable Energy. The Dutch government has invested over €7 billion in energy supply from 2008 to 2011, with focus maintained on renewable energy, energy conservation and carbon dioxide emissions in an effort to decrease fossil fuel dependence. Around €4 billion will be invested in renewable energy with €1 billion going to both energy conservation and carbon dioxide emission reduction. This is to assist in having 20 percent of energy from renewable sources by 2020.

2) Renewable Energy Businesses in the Netherlands. There are a number of renewable energy businesses throughout the Netherlands. RR Energy is an advisory company that provides necessary information on renewable energy systems production and appliances, including wind farms, biomass energy systems, hydro electric turbines, photovoltaic systems, and fuel cell systems. Scheuten Solar Holding is a leading global manufacturer of photovoltaic modules and solar electric power systems. Lemnis Lighting is a premier manufacturer of sustainable lighting solutions that are based on current LED technology.

3) Dutch Office for Renewable Energy. The Dutch Office for Renewable Energy was established for the ongoing promotion within the public about renewable energy sources and the production of renewable energy sources throughout the country. The office locates different challenges to these objectives and locates solutions. The target audience includes local, national, and international governments, companies, and consumers. Some of the areas of expertise include bioenergy, policy development of renewable energy sources, building energy efficiency, information dissemination, and policy tools development.

4) Implementation of a Number of Clean Technology Directives. In 2011, the Dutch senate passed a bill implementing the Renewable Energy Directive, Fuel Quality Directive, and Clean Vehicles Directive. The Renewable Energy Directive offers a number of mandatory targets, including 20 percent renewable energy use by 2020. As for the Fuel Quality Directive, a minimum of 10 percent of all fuels used for transportation must originate from renewable sources by 2020. The Clean Vehicles Directive promotes energy efficient and clean road transport vehicles by introducing eco-friendly vehicles.

5) Subsidies Given for Electric Cars. In 2009, the Dutch government set aside €65 million to make the Netherlands “the international testing ground for electric cars.” The government touts the Netherlands as an ideal location for electric cars because of the short distances, there is a strong electricity network, and the roads around the country are flat. Companies that purchase electric cars will receive approximately €8,000 is support, companies that install battery charging points will get tax breaks, owners of electric cars will not have to pay car road tax, and when possible, the government will opt to utilize electric cars within its own fleet. Between the dense populated region, flat countryside, and pro-electric vehicle subsidies, many car manufacturers, especially Japanese car manufacturers are heading to the Netherlands to begin their electric vehicle roll-out.

6) Goal of One Million Electric Cars on the Road by 2020. In June of 2011, the Dutch Energy company, Essent, said that they would expect to see one million electric cars driving along the roads in the Netherlands by the year 2020. Though the cars just came to the country in 2010-2011, by 2015, it is expected that there will be a boom in electric cars as further advancements in battery technology will be reached, lowering the overall cost. The one million cars include pure electric vehicles as well as plug-in hybrid vehicles. Earlier in 2011, the government introduced a number of incentives including tax exemptions and financial support. As well, by 2012 electricity grid operators have made the agreement to build a minimum of 10,000 charging stations throughout the country. Companies such as Epyon Power are working hard to provide the best electric vehicle batteriess available.

7) Building Solar Panels into Bike Lanes. The Netherlands have a new plan – installing solar panels in roads, but first they are starting with the numerous bike lanes throughout the country. Known as Solaroad, it was established by TNO, a Dutch research firm. They put down a centimeter thick layer of crystalline silicon solar cells with a layer of tough glass on top. There is the energy potential of 50 kilowatt hours per square meter annually, which will then be utilized to power traffic systems, street lighting, and a number of households. However, first TNO is starting with a small scale pilot program in Krommenie, right outside Amsterdam and will be installed by 2012.

8 ) The Dutch Cooperation Fund for Promotion of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency. The Dutch Cooperation Fund for Promotion of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency was created in 2002 to encourage investments made in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and carbon dioxide gas abatement technologies in a number of developing member countries to increase energy access by the poor and reduce carbon dioxide gas emissions. Some of the developing countries include Nepal, Vietnam, Indonesia, China, and Pakistan. The fund “develop[s]capacities of national policymakers, technical experts, and staff of financing institutions for promoting renewable energy, energy efficiency, and greenhouse gas abatement; support[s]policy, regulatory, and institutional reforms, including removal of energy pricing distortions; [and]facilitate[s]access to private sector financing.”

9) Green Deal Initiative. The Green Deal Initiative was set up by the Dutch government to assist businesses, municipalities, and citizens looking to create new, viable energy projects. Proposals were accepted until June 2011 for sustainable solutions that deal with the increasing energy needs. The initiative is to assist in solving regulatory barriers and various other types of associated obstacles that will create sustainable energy technologies.

10) Plant One. Just recently launched in the Netherlands, Plant One is a pilot facility used by innovators in the clean technology industry, including renewable energy sources and energy efficiency. Plant One offers a “Super Permit,” which includes possibilities for reduced costs and small scale testing that can be done in existing industrial infrastructure along the city of Rotterdam. One startup CHP-technology set up a pilot for potential customers to test feedstock in machines, thereby accelerating CHP in deployment.

Article by Shawn Lesser, Co-founder & Managing Partner of Atlanta-based Watershed Capital Group – an investment bank assisting sustainable fund and companies raise capital, perform acquisitions, and in other strategic financial decisions. He is also a Co-founder of the GCCA Global Cleantech Cluster Association ”The Global Voice of Cleantech”. He writes for various cleantech publications and is known as the David Letterman of Cleantech for his “Top 10″ series. He can be reached at shawn@watershedcapital.com



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