Last year, 102 billion kWh of electricity were generated in the Netherlands, nearly 10 percent down from one year previously, but the level of imports and exports of electricity was higher than ever before in 2012.
Less electricity generated from natural gas, more coal-fired electricity produced
Last year, 53 percent of electricity produced in the Netherlands was generated from natural gas, as against 60 percent in 2011. The amount of electricity generated in natural gas power stations supplying electricity to the national grid declined notably in 2012. This so-called centralised production of electricity from natural gas declined by 25 percent.
Decentralised electricity production, i.e. the generation of electricity supplied to regional grids or used for in-house consumption also used less natural gas. Since coal was a relatively cheap source of energy in 2012, the amount of electricity generated in coal-fired power plants grew by more than 15 percent.
On balance, the generation of electricity from fossil fuels declined by nearly 12 percent to 82 billion kWh. The amount of electricity generated from fossil fuels fell from more 90 percent of total production in 1998 to nearly 81 percent in 2012.
Electricity production by energy source
Share renewable electricity rising
Generation of renewable electricity grew by 1 percent in 2012 to 12.5 billion kWh, the smallest growth in the past half decade. Because total electricity production was reduced, the share of renewable electricity rose from 11 percent in 2011 to 12 percent in 2012. In 1998, the share of renewable energy was 2.5 percent. In the Netherlands, renewable energy is predominantly generated from wind power and biomass.
Imports and exports of electricity larger than ever before
The price of electricity charged by various European countries in 2012 was lower than production price of electricity generated in Dutch natural gas power stations. More electricity was imported from Germany as a result of the low coal price and a large supply of renewable electricity. The amount of electricity imported from Norway also increased relative to 2011. Norwegian electricity is mostly generated in hydro-electric power stations. Exports of electricity to Germany and Norway plummeted in 2012. Electricity trade with Belgium and Great Britain showed a reverse pattern: imports decreased, while exports increased.
On balance, imports and exports of electricity soared to a new record high in 2012, while the amount of electricity generated in the Netherlands fell by nearly 10 percent relative to one year previously and electricity consumption declined marginally.
Imports and exports of electricity
Bart van Wezel and Jan Kloots