The Netherlands’ four coal fired power stations pumped out 69% more carbon dioxide last year, ending the downward trend which started in 2015.
In total, carbon dioxide emissions in the Netherlands rose by a fraction of a percent in 2021, but were still down on the pre-coronavirus year of 2019, the Dutch emissions authority said on Thursday.
The biggest coal-fired power station is owned by RWE and located in Eemshaven. It emitted more than twice as much carbon dioxide in 2021. The four power stations account for 7% of Dutch carbon emissions.
Last year’s emissions were down on 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic hit, and coronavirus measures did have an impact, particularly in 2020, when emissions fell over 11%.
The main reason for the increase in 2021 is rising gas prices, which made coal a more attractive option. Coal releases more carbon than gas when burned.
The situation is likely to be different again this year, because since January 1, coal fired power stations have been limited to 35% capacity.
All four power stations must have made the switch to non-fossil fuels by 2030, under the government’s plans to stimulate sustainable energy production.
The volume of biomass used to generate energy has also gone up by 38%, producing enough to serve six million households for a year, the NEA says. Biomass is officially considered to be a carbon neutral option and companies do not have to pay emissions rights to burn it.
‘There are tough rules to guarantee that biomass is sustainable,’ NEA director Mark Bressers told broadcaster NOS, adding that an investigation is underway into possible problems in Estonia.
Under EU rules only left over wood should be used in biomass-fired power stations but environmental groups claim that Estonian forests are being cut down to be burned the Netherlands and Britain.
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