The highest Dutch administrative court has given the green light to a controversial project to store huge volumes of carbon dioxide in empty gas reservoirs under the North Sea.
The project had been challenged by environmental campaign group MOB which said too much nitrogen would be released during the construction progress.
The Council of State said in its ruling on Wednesday that the project would lead to more nitrogen-compound pollution but that it would be temporary and would not have a major impact on the environment.
In addition, the ruling was specific to this project and did not mean that other plans would be approved despite their impact on nitrogen levels, chief judge Bart Jan van Ettekoven said.
The carbon capture project, named Porthos, involves pumping the CO2 via a pipeline from the Rotterdam port area to the empty gas chambers. The aim is to store 2.5 megatonnes of CO2 a year – or 1.5% of total emissions.
The government committed €2 billion to the project in 2021.
The CCS project will be a first for the Netherlands. Earlier plans by Shell to use an empty gas reservoirs under Barendrecht were shelved because of local residents’ concerns.
The Netherlands is committed to reducing the emission of greenhouse gases by at least 55% in 2030 compared with 1990 and the government sees a key role for CCS in achieving this target.
Porthos is a partnership between the Port of Rotterdam Authority, Gasunie and EBN, all of which are state-owned.
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