The government may be prepared to offer industrial power users in the Netherlands a state guarantee on loans but the construction would require European Commission approval, reports the Financieele Dagblad on its front page today.
According to the paper, economic affairs minister Joop Wijn has sent a memo to MPs explaining that he is studying the possibility of a state guarantee for a special fund which would be set up to make loans to the power consortium.
Industrial users such as steelmaker Corus and chemical concerns Akzo Nobel and Dow Chemical have been complaining for some time that Dutch electricity prices are higher than in neighbouring countries.
They have been in talks with energy producers on the possibility of building a new coal-fired plant and signing attractive long-term purchase contracts. But this would not be operational until 2011 at the earliest. Under Wijn’s plans, the power users would take out loans to pay for electricity in the interim and pay this back once cheaper power is available.
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