Ministers, unions, employers and environmental groups have reached a long-awaited agreement on a package of measures to save energy and cut C02 emissions.
The government’s SER advisory body, which involves unions and employers, said on Friday the main contours of the deal had been agreed although the fine print still needs to be worked out.
‘The final accord will include agreements on saving energy, clean technology and climate policy,’ SER said in a statement. ‘Putting this agreement into practice must result in clean and affordable energy provisions, jobs and opportunities for the Netherlands in the clean technology market.’
The agreement will lead to billions of euros of investment and create thousands of extra jobs, SER said. The ultimate aim is to ensure the Dutch energy market is fully sustainable by 2050.
However, the deal also involves delaying the deadline for ensuring 16% of Dutch energy usage comes from sustainable sources from 2020 to 2023. The Netherlands will meet the EU target of 14% sustainable energy use by 2020, SER said.
The deal involves closing down old coal-fired power stations earlier than scheduled, the setting up of a special fund to pay for energy efficency measures – with cash from pension funds – and a major focus on offshore wind energy generation.
Despite the optimism, VVD parliamentarian René Leegte was quick to warn there is no final agreement. ‘It could still go wrong,’ he told website nu.nl.
It is crucial the final agreement remains affordable because it is small companies and the population at large who will pick up the bill, he said.
Labour MP Jan Vos said he was pleased at the planned investment in energy saving measures and in offshore windparks. But left-wing green party GroenLinks gave the deal ‘six out of 10’.
‘There are good but obvious measures,’ said MP Liesbeth van Tongeren. ‘But it is hardly an ambitious agreement that involves a radical shift from fossil fuels to clean energy.’
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