For the second year running, Dutch electricity production was in decline in 2006. Just as in 2005, growing electricity consumption in 2006 was set off by increased imports of electrical energy.
Drop in centralised production
Last year, the generation of electricity in the Netherlands totalled nearly 99 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh), about 2 percent down on 2005. The decline was mainly recorded in centralised electricity generation in power stations. Their production fell by 3 percent to 67 billion kWh.
The most substantial drop occurred in conventional power stations. Electricity production in conventional power stations fell by 4 percent in 2006 to 38 billion kWh. Production in combined heat and power systems (CHP) declined by more than one and a half percent to nearly 29 billion kWh. In 2005, centralised CHP production of electricity still rose by over 6 percent.
Centralised electricity production
Less natural gas used for electricity generation
Electricity is largely generated by fossil fuels, mainly coal and natural gas. Last year’s drop in electricity production was paralleled by a drop of the use of natural gas in natural gas-fired power stations of nearly 6 percent to 263 petajoule (PJ). With 1 percent, the drop in the use of coal was less substantial. Last year, 205 PJ of coal was used in coal-fired power stations to generate electrical energy.
Fuel prices play a decisive role in the use of coal and natural gas for electricity generation. In 2006, the price of natural gas increased much more than the price of coal.
Increase in decentralised production
In 2006, decentralised electricity production rose marginally by 0.6 percent to nearly 32 billion kWh.
The most substantial increase was recorded in greenhouse horticulture. Electricity production in this sector rose by one third to 4.3 billion kWh. This is due to a dramatic increase by nearly 50 percent in the capacity of gas engines in this sector
to over 1.8 GW.
Electricity production in greenhouse horticulture
Also more wind energy
The capacity of wind turbines also grew distinctly in 2006 by 27 percent to nearly 1.6 GW. In most other sectors, the current capacity remained more or less the same. The total electricity production capacity was 23 GW by the end of 2006.
Bart van Wezel and Jan Kloots