Cabinet limits capacity of coal-fired power stations, experts critical

It causes a price increase of the already sky-high gas prices. Martien Visser, professor of energy transition at Haze University of Applied Sciences, has little understanding for the measure. “I would have done it differently myself and postponed this measure for one or a half years,” said the lecturer, who understands that the cabinet wants to reduce CO2 emissions.

Coal-fired power stations are very climate-unfriendly per unit of electricity generated. Natural gas is a better alternative, just like solar panels or windmills. “But those extra solar panels or windmills that we need will not be in the Netherlands tomorrow.”

Natural gas must therefore take over the function of the coal-fired power stations, but there is already a shortage of it. “And perhaps next winter too. It is a risky government strategy,” says Visser, who made his own calculation.

According to him, 2 billion cubic meters of natural gas is needed to replace the energy generated by the coal-fired power stations. That is five percent of the total Dutch demand.

“There are many concerns in the market. Stocks are almost exhausted. Can we do without the coal-fired power stations? That depends on the course of the winter and on supplies from Russia.”


The Russians can supply more natural gas than they do now. However, the supply can also decline, the lecturer knows. “It is a short-term market. Every day it is determined again how much gas the Russians will sell to Europe.”

According to outgoing State Secretary Dilan Yeşilgöz-Zegerius, there is no problem. In times of shortage, the coal-fired power stations are allowed to operate at full speed, which is a maximum of 35 percent on an annual basis, she says.

In addition, more electricity comes from solar panels in the summer. “From 2030 there will be no more coal-fired power stations in the Netherlands. This three-year production limitation will make an important contribution to CO2 reduction in the short term,” said the minister.

High demand for coal

Due to the increased gas prices, the use of coal for electricity production is becoming more and more interesting. According to the International Energy Agency, coal is suddenly popular again everywhere. Dutch coal-fired power stations are also running at maximum, despite the fact that it is twice as polluting as gas

Energy analyst Jilles van den Beukel is therefore concerned, just like Visser. “Close nuclear power stations, close coal-fired power stations, close Groningen. No longer financing investments in oil and gas. Then you should not be surprised if, sooner or later, the gas price rises. Fight fossils on the demand side, not on the supply side.” , he tweeted.

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