Minister firm on green power subsidies

Dutch economic affairs minister Joop Wijn on Thursday dismissed calls to reinstate the so-called MEP subsidy to stimulate the production of renewable energy. Wijn has come under fierce criticism from the environmental lobby, energy sector and the agricultural industry (which is heavily involved in wind power) since making the unexpected announcement to scrap subsidies three weeks ago.

Although a political majority wants the subsidies to continue, the two main government parties voted against that proposal. However the Christian Democrats (CDA) did support a proposal to compensate companies who have already made investments based on the MEP. Wijn says he wants to scrap the MEP because he expects the Netherlands will achieve its target of producing 9% of electricity from renewable sources by 2010 without subsidising new generation projects. The MEP subsidy, introduced three years ago, is so successful that costs have got out of hand, the minister added, and the cabinet has had to find an extra €280 mln to fund the scheme.
Another aspect of Dutch energy policy – to make energy companies responsible for reducing consumption – is also facing fierce criticism. According the Financieele Dagblad newspaper, the cabinet wants power suppliers such as Essent, Nuon and Eneco to ensure that both homes and commercial premises meet specific energy saving targets.

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