Wednesday 15 July 2020

Coalition party MPs call for an end to subsidies for biomass power stations

Photo: Depositphotos.com

MPs from the four ruling coalition parties have submitted a motion to parliament which calls for an end to subsidies for biomass-fired power stations.

Biomass – mainly made up of wood chips and fruit and vegetable waste – has become increasingly controversial as a source of fuel, particularly because the Netherlands imports large amounts of wood from the US to burn.

MPs from the four parties are now urging the cabinet not to give out any more subsidies for biomass power plants and to phase out the schemes already in place.

‘Biomass is not the future,’ D66 MP Matthijs Sienot said. ‘We are setting fires to warm our houses and that is a ridiculous situation.

On Thursday, Swedish energy giant Vattenfall said it was putting plans to build a massive biomass power plant near Amsterdam on ice and wanted the government to make its position on biomass clear.

Unavoidable

The Dutch environmental assessment agency PBL said in January that the use of biomass may be unavoidable if the Netherlands is to meet the EU targets.

Without using biomass, the Netherlands will have to install wind turbines and solar panels more quickly than it is currently doing, and other difficult choices will have to be made, the PBL said.

And earlier this month, economic affairs minister Erik Wiebes said that biomass continues to have an important role in meeting the government’s climate change targets.

However, he said, he will soon publish a list of requirements which biomass will have to meet to be really considered green.

In total, 628 biomass installations in the Netherlands will get some €11.4bn in subsidies over the next few years, the AD reported earlier.

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