Electricity consumption in the Netherlands rose from just over 7 billion kWh in 1950 to 119 billion kWh in 2013, an average increase of 4.5 percent per year. Until 2008, electricity consumption only decreased year-on-year during the economic recession in the 1980s. Statistics Netherlands publishes a report on electricity in the Netherlands this week.
Electricity use and economic growth
Up to 1976, every year electricity use increased by more than the economy. It was pushed up by the increase in the number of electrical appliances and the fact that these were used on an increasingly larger scale. On average, electricity consumption rose by 8.2 percent per year from 1950-1976, while economic growth was 4.6 percent per year on average. After 1976, electricity consumption rose at around the same rate as the economy on average. In the period 1977-2013, both electricity use and the economy grew by around 2 percent per year on average.
Electricity consumption in the Netherlands
Electricity supply equals production plus imports, minus exports. As electricity cannot (yet) be stored in large amounts, supply and use are about equal: electricity that is generated is used - in or outside the Netherlands.
Until the end of the 1970s, the electricity supply consisted mostly of centralised production. The share of centralised electricity production grew by around 75 percent in the 1950s, to 90 percent in the second half of the 1970s and early 1980s.
After that, more electricity came from decentralised production plants and imports. As a result, the share of centralised production decreased to around half of the total supply. Since 1999, centralised production has accounted for 50 to 60 percent of the total supply.
Energy sources for electricity production
In the Netherlands, electricity is mainly produced by the combustion of fossil fuels. The share of fossil fuels in electricity production has fallen somewhat in recent years: from around 90 percent in 1998 to 82 percent in 2013. This decrease is mainly the result of an increase in the volume of electricity from renewable sources, from just under 3 percent in 1998 to 12 percent in 2013. In the Netherlands, renewable electricity is generated mainly from wind and biomass.
The amount of electricity produced from nuclear energy is very small in the Netherlands: just under 4 percent between 1998 and 2013.
Electricity production by energy source