D66, GroenLinks and PvdA: Closing a Coal Plant This Year

The demissionary cabinet has to close one of the four coal plants this year. D66, GroenLinks and PvdA think about that. The parties say that otherwise the Netherlands will not be able to comply with the courts Urgenda ruling, which obliges the State to drastically reduce CO2 emissions.

The judge ruled that the State has a duty of care to protect and improve the environment of its citizens.

โ€œAppointment is an appointment,โ€ says D66 MP Boucke. โ€œWe have to comply with the judges ruling. The Netherlands is a rule of law.โ€ Accelerated closure does have financial consequences. The owner-owned energy company is missing revenue and needs to incur costs, and must be compensated for it. What that may cost Boucke doesnt want to mention.

GroenLinks also doesnt want to mention any amount, but says that closing a coal plant saves a lot of greenhouse gas emissions at a relatively low cost compared to other measures. MP Van der Lee: โ€œAnother advantage is that you no longer have to grant subsidies for biomass assisting in that plant. That money is free.โ€

Stupid Enterprise Risk

The energy companies themselves calculated the accelerated shutdown of their central costs. It runs in the billions of euros, they say. For example, energy company RWE wants a compensation of 1.4 billion euros because it has to close its coal plant in the Eemshaven by 2030. And owner Uniper of the Maasvlakte plant also claims a fee for closure in 2030.

The Cabinet is engaged in several legal proceedings with these originating German energy companies. There are arbitration cases that may take months. The Dutch state defends the view that a ban on coal stiring is in line with national and international legislation.

PvdA MP Thijssen: โ€œIt has been a stupid business risk for the companies to continue with coal. They saw this coming. I dont think they need to get much from Dutch society.โ€

periodic penalty payments

The Ministry of Economic Affairs has made a financial bid at the coal plants to close quickly. The Riverstone plant, also on the Maasvlakte, responded to this with a counter offer. Negotiations are still running. The ministry says it wants to pay a maximum of 238 million euros.

Incidentally, the government can face a legal process. Despite a fruitful climate conversation with demissionary Prime Minister Rutte at the Turret, Urgenda director Minnesma wants to go back to court. According to her, the Cabinet does too little. With a penalty of possibly between 100 million and 2 billion euros, it wants to force the government to act.

โ€œI understand that Minnesma is taking this step,โ€ says Van der Lee. โ€œThe first Urgenda verdict was six years ago and the verdict is still not fulfilled. By closing a plant, we can prevent these periodic penalty payments.โ€

For those who work on the central works to be closed, the three parties find different work. Or they can retire early.