In addition, underground storage of CO2 must become one of the most important solutions to environmental problems, according to the plans of the caretaker cabinet.
The government is investing 6.8 billion euros in tackling climate change. The aim is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (especially CO2). The money should be used to encourage citizens and companies to reduce their emissions.
From heat pump at home…
The cabinet wants to help homeowners financially with, among other things, the purchase of a hybrid heat pump. There will be a scheme whereby 1000 to 2100 euros of the purchase price will be subsidized. Such a hybrid heat pump costs an average of 4000 euros.
Money will also be made available to accelerate the insulation of the 20 percent of the worst insulated rental and owner-occupied homes.
…to more wind at sea
Almost half of the extra money, namely 3 billion euros, will go to the existing subsidy pot to stimulate the production of green energy, for example in the form of solar and wind parks.
For example, the cabinet is looking at the possibilities for almost doubling the plans for offshore wind farms. So far, the plan is to grow that capacity to 11 gigawatts by 2030. That should be 21 gigawatts. 150 million euros has been set aside for the research.
What do we have to achieve again?
The ultimate goal of sustainability is to reduce CO2 emissions. The Netherlands must have reduced this by 49 percent in nine years. That is compared to the emissions in 1990.
At the time, companies and individuals were jointly responsible for 228 million tons of CO2 (228 billion kilograms) that went into the air. Greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 amounted to 166 megatonnes of CO2 equivalent.
In 2030, emissions should not exceed 116 million tons. And the last tens of millions of tons are the most difficult to achieve.
And CO2 storage
Part of the billions will go to ‘other technologies’ to reduce emissions in the Netherlands, in particular through the underground storage of CO2. Under the name Porthos, a number of companies and the Port of Rotterdam have major plans for underground storage (called CCS) in depleted gas fields at sea.
But those companies have emphatically linked the realization of this to multi-billion dollar subsidies that have to come from The Hague or Brussels. The cabinet now seems to be accommodating them because CO2 storage can be realized relatively quickly.
With the Porthos project, the Netherlands could already store large amounts of CO2 in three years’ time.
According to Michèlle Prins, energy program leader at Nature and Environment, at least 1 billion euros extra will go to those CCS projects in the Netherlands in the current national budget.
“And that could also be 2 billion euros, depending on what CO2 emissions will cost in the future. We are really shocked about this because there is less room for other technologies.”
Marjan Minnesma of Urgenda, the environmental organization that brought and won the climate case against the government, thinks it is positive that much attention is paid to the climate in the Speech from the Throne and in the budget. “It was the main theme of the Speech from the Throne. I call that progress.”
Doubts about storage
She has doubts about the spending of the almost 7 billion euros. “Too much subsidy goes to underground CO2 storage. This means that much more CO2 than agreed is going into the ground”.
She denounces the fact that this does not reduce the actual emissions of the industry. “Because it’s a temporary solution.”
Milieudefensie is also not happy about this. Subsidies for CO2 storage are subsidizing the wrong companies in the eyes of this environmental organization.
“This outgoing cabinet is using the political chaos to allocate the large business community a billion-dollar shower under the guise of climate policy, coughed up by households and SMEs.”
1.3 billion for energy transport
A major problem in the transition of energy from coal and gas to more sustainable sources is the transport of green energy. Grid operators have recently pointed out that the capacity of the Dutch power grid is insufficient.
The cabinet is now allocating 1.3 billion euros for a better energy infrastructure. That money will go to, among other things, a heat transport network in South Holland and the conversion of gas pipelines to a hydrogen network for heavy industry.