Less coal used in production of electricity

09/03/2017 15:00
For the first time since 2011, Dutch power stations are using less coal. Consumption of coal declined by 10 percent year-on-year in 2016. On the other hand, consumption of natural gas rose by nearly 30 percent after years of decline, as reported by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) based on new figures.

Electricity consumption in power stations, by energy source

Coal plants still a major source

In the Agreement on Energy for Sustainable Growth (Social and Economic Council, 2013), signatory parties committed to phasing out coal-fired power plants with relatively low efficiency dating from the 1980s. Three of these plants, together accounting for a capacity of nearly 2 gigawatts (GW), were closed down in 2015. Phasing out these plants contributed directly to the decline in coal consumption.
In spite of these measures, coal consumption in electricity production was historically high last year at 305 petajoule (PJ). Before 2014, annual coal consumption fluctuated around 210 PJ. The increase was partly due to the introduction of high-efficiency coal plants in 2014 and 2015 with a total capacity exceeding 3 GW.
In July 2017, the last few coal-fired power plants from the 1980s with a joint capacity of 1 gigawatt will be closed down.

Electric power produced in coal-fired power stations, by first year of operation

Natural gas plants supplying more again

Following five years of decline, natural gas consumption at power plants was up nearly 30 percent in 2016. The main contributing factor aside from the shutdown of coal plants was the price drop of natural gas by 30 to 40 percent in 2016.

Power station output rose by over 4 billion kWh in 2016, reaching the highest level in history with a total of 76.7 billion kWh. This upsurge is particularly related to declining electricity imports; in 2016 by 6.5 billion kWh. Electricity exports declined as well, by 2.7 billion kWh.

Electricity produced in power stations