As with natural gas now, the same applies in the supermarket: a lower supply means higher prices.
The sector organization Greenhouse Horticulture Netherlands calls it an energy crisis and out of fear that glasshouse horticulture companies may collapse this winter because of the high energy prices. That is why it has set up a crisis team. This will monitor the impact of the high prices and the ways in which action can be taken against it.
Entrepreneurs in greenhouse horticulture use natural gas to heat their greenhouses. They buy it from their energy supplier. That is slightly different than in the consumer market, explains Rien Bot. He is director of energy collective Agro Energy, which has many horticulturists as customers.
More money for energy
“As a consumer, you agree on a price for all the volume of energy you purchase. Just like with mortgage interest, horticulturists can choose how long they fix the price. They can do this twice a day, for a day, a month, a quarterly or even annually. When our large growers buy in term as well as on the daily price.”
Last year the daily price for natural gas dropped to an extremely low price level of 5 cents per cubic meter, according to Bot. Many growers then chose to keep the daily price; after all, the fixed price was higher, around 15 cents. That now means that they spend a lot more money on energy, because electricity and oil prices are also rising.
Cultivation lags behind
“Many greenhouse horticulturists are therefore now taking measures to reduce their energy costs,” says Bot. “Normally, for example, they now plant the tomatoes for next season. By not doing that, they use less energy.”
Bot also sees this on the floricultural side. They normally use artificial light, but that is not currently available. “The surplus of electricity that they have purchased is returned to the grid at a high price. That provides a financial buffer, but their cultivation is lagging behind.”
As a result, it could well be that in a few months there will be a lot less roses, other cut flowers and vegetables for sale from the greenhouse.
Growers who have enough buffers will remain in the market, Bot expects. “There will be shortages, which they can take advantage of. But there are also many contract growers. They have the obligation to supply certain quantities to supermarkets and will therefore have to grow. The buffers they have are shrinking very quickly with these prices. ”
Normally, 30 percent of the cost price of a tomato, for example, is in energy costs. Those prices have doubled, says Bot, but the selling prices have not yet. “So this will take a while. After the winter we will definitely notice it in the range.”