Netherlands government adopts 'green deal' to cut red tape for biogas, other renewable energy projects but excludes wind, solar power; goal is to reach 14% green energy share by 2020, but share slipped to 3.8% in 2010 from 4.3% in 2009

LOS ANGELES , October 4, 2011 () – In an attempt to attain its green energy target of 14% by 2020, the Netherlands government has adopted a plan to cut the red tape for approving biogas and other renewable energy projects, but has excluded wind and solar power, reported Reuters on Oct. 3.

As part of the so-called “green deal,” utilities have vowed to boost their biomass share at their coal-fired power plants to 10% over the next three years, thereby cutting carbon emissions.

The agreement includes 59 public and private sector projects that focus on using raw materials, water, land, food and energy in a sustainable way, Reuters reported.

One of the projects selected by the Dutch government is a biogas venture between Netherlands-based utility Essent, dairy cooperative Friesland Campina and the Netherlands Green Gas Maatschappij. Essent is part of Germany-based RWE AG.

The project, which will expedited by the government simplifying and shortening the permit process, involves producing farm manure-based liquefied biogas for a transport fuel, reported Reuters.

The exclusion of offshore wind was a disappointment, said Dutch utility NV Nuon Energy, which is owned by Sweden’s Vattenfall AB. The still-expensive technology needs government support, but wind power is needed for the country to reach the 2020 targets, said Ariane Volz, a Nuon spokesperson.

The Netherlands should push investment in wind and solar, which are the “main sources” of the country’s renewable energy, said Kim Schoppink, a spokesperson for Greenpeace, Reuters reported.

More than 80% of the electricity produced in the Netherlands comes from fossil fuels. The country’s share of renewable energy dropped to 3.8% in 2010 from 4.2% in 2009.

Bans are not favored as a sustainability policy in the country, said Maxime Verhagen, Netherlands minister for economic affairs, agriculture and innovation, on Monday, reported Reuters.

The primary source of this article is Reuters, London, England, on Oct. 3, 2011.

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