EU Directive Renewable Energy
In the 2009 EU Directive Renewable Energy, European countries have agreed to commit themselves to renewable energy targets for the year 2020. The targets vary by country and are based on the share of renewable energy in the base year (2005) plus an increase in the share (expressed in percentage points) of renewable energy which is more or less equal for each country. Part of the agreement is that the targets are lower for poorer countries and for countries which have made considerable efforts in the past.
The target for the Netherlands is set at 14 percent, based on a 2.5 percent share in the base year plus an increase of 11.5 percentage points. The renewable energy target for the entire EU in 2020 is set at an average of 20 percent, based on 8.5 percent in the base year plus an increase of 11.5 percentage points.
Only France further away from the EU target
With 5.5 percent in 2014, the Netherlands is still 8.5 percentage points below the national target of 14 percent for 2020. Within Europe only France is further away from its national target. One-third of European countries have already reached the agreed targets. Countries like Denmark and Austria are only 1 percentage point away from the 2020 target. On average, the European countries are 4 percentage points behind the target formulated in the directive.
Netherlands second poorest record on renewable energy
Nearly 5.5 percent of energy used in the Netherlands came from renewable sources in 2014, far less than in Europe’s leading countries Sweden (53 percent), Latvia (39 percent) and Finland (also 39 percent). The European average (16 percent) is also higher. Only in Malta (4.7 percent) and Luxembourg (4.5 percent) the share of renewable energy is lower than in the Netherlands.
Netherlands uses only small amount of biomass
Relatively few Dutch households burn wood (included in biomass) to heat their houses, because nearly every house in the Netherlands is connected to the natural gas grid and gas is fairly cheap. On account of its geographical location, the Netherlands has little potential for hydropower. Unlike in Sweden and Finland, the Netherlands does not have a large paper industry relying on biomass. Government subsidies for promotion of renewable energy sources are also lower in the Netherlands than in countries like Germany and Denmark.