21 June 2022, by Victoria Séveno
Jetten warns the Netherlands is at first stage of a gas crisis
Sanctions placed on Russia and the ongoing war in Ukraine are forcing countries across Europe to take drastic measures in order to ensure their fuel reserves are stocked for the winter. This week, Germany announced it was turning to coal to make up for the country’s limited gas supply. Now, the Netherlands has confirmed it will follow in its neighbour’s footsteps, as the Dutch government attempts to “prepare the Netherlands as best as possible for the winter period.”
On Monday afternoon, Climate and Energy Minister Rob Jetten confirmed that the Netherlands would be scaling up its production of coal-fired energy and limiting the use of natural gas. Jetten emphasised that the country was not yet facing a gas shortage, but made it clear that we were at “the first stage of a gas crisis” and so were forced to take action.
“We now see that the total gas supplies from Russia to Europe are declining rapidly,” Jetten explains. “We can no longer guarantee that we will be able to fill the gas storage facilities in Europe and the Netherlands sufficiently in preparation for the winter.”
Dutch government lifts production limits for coal power plants
In order to reduce CO2 emissions, current policy states that Dutch coal-fired power plants are only allowed to operate at 35 percent capacity. In order for the country to lessen its reliance on gas, the government has decided to lift the current limit on the production of coal power with immediate effect. This means that, from 2022 to 2024, coal-fired power plants in the Netherlands will be able to run at full capacity.
This change in policy is in direct opposition to the coalition’s climate goals, as the cabinet hopes to reduce CO2 emissions in the Netherlands by 55 percent by 2030. Jetten was adamant that the decision didn’t mean he’d “lost sight” of the country’s goals, adding that he hoped to present new policies for reducing emissions on Prinsjesdag in September.
The government has also issued an “urgent appeal” to businesses and households to limit energy consumption and “save as much energy as possible” over the warmer summer months. The cabinet’s energy-saving campaign will officially launch on July 4, and will include advice and tips for entrepreneurs and families. “Every cubic meter of gas counts from now on,” Jetten said.