Electricity production 14 percent up in Q3

In Q3 2020, net electricity production was 3.8 billion kWh higher than in Q3 2019. Consumption was 0.1 billion kWh down on the previous year, although in Q2 there was still a substantial decline. Due to more exports and less imports of electricity, the electricity balance was lower by 4.0 billion kWh. The production of renewable energy has increased, while electricity production from coal has continued to fall. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this based on newly released figures.

Net electricity production in Q3 was the highest ever measured in any third quarter over the period 2014-2020. Electricity production is marked by a strong seasonal pattern. Usually, more electricity is generated in the first and fourth quarters than in second and third quarters. Production is closely linked to both domestic and foreign electricity demand. In Q2, domestic consumption was down by 7 percent year-on-year, partly due to the impact of the measures taken against coronavirus. However, it bounced back to around the same level as one year previously in Q3.

Net electricity production and consumption
Jaar KwartaalNet electricity production (bn kWh)Consumption (bn kWh)
2014Q124.76528.521
2014Q223.1225.724
2014Q323.14825.953
2014Q428.27828.905
2015Q129.01628.925
2015Q222.50325.444
2015Q324.74126.303
2015Q429.64228.714
2016Q128.87728.989
2016Q223.89325.829
2016Q325.61926.297
2016Q432.64529.397
2017Q131.35429.151
2017Q225.06325.947
2017Q325.34626.615
2017Q431.70429.844
2018Q130.8830.161
2018Q223.11626.582
2018Q326.60627.254
2018Q430.44429.683
2019Q132.56629.873
2019Q226.05926.588
2019Q326.96226.732
2019Q432.27430.189
2020Q130.85629.698
2020Q225.93924.893
2020Q330.75126.599

Electricity imports from Belgium down, exports to Belgium and Germany up

In Q3 2020, the Netherlands imported 3.7 billion kWh and exported 6.7 billion kWh. On balance, this resulted in net exports of 3.0 billion kWh, the highest balance measured since 1976. The Netherlands is generally a net importer of electricity. It has relatively many natural gas-fired power plants that compete with foreign power plants. The price of gas is currently relatively low and gas-fired power plants emit less CO2 than coal-fired power plants. Gas-fired plants are therefore less affected by the relatively high carbon price.

Electricity imports and exports
Jaar KwartaalNet imports (bn kWh)Imports (bn kWh)Exports (displayed as a negative value) (bn kWh)
2014Q15.0529.052-4.000
2014Q23.7658.206-4.441
2014Q33.9727.764-3.792
2014Q41.9377.832-5.895
2015Q11.2927.532-6.240
2015Q24.1798.455-4.276
2015Q32.8088.094-5.286
2015Q40.4706.680-6.210
2016Q11.5416.032-4.491
2016Q23.2156.917-3.702
2016Q31.9636.190-4.227
2016Q4-1.8045.119-6.923
2017Q1-0.7815.023-5.804
2017Q22.1596.231-4.072
2017Q32.5515.919-3.368
2017Q4-0.4215.286-5.707
2018Q10.6835.805-5.122
2018Q24.7227.891-3.169
2018Q31.9106.803-4.893
2018Q40.6556.256-5.601
2019Q1-1.2924.638-5.930
2019Q21.7845.837-4.053
2019Q31.0305.242-4.212
2019Q4-0.6684.686-5.354
2020Q10.1705.444-5.274
2020Q20.1435.281-5.138
2020Q3-2.9573.689-6.646

Belgian nuclear power plants produced less in the third quarter. As a result, imports from Belgium fell by 2.0 billion kWh in Q3 relative to one year previously. At the same time, exports to Belgium rose by 1.7 billion kWh over this period. Net imports from Belgium therefore declined by 3.7 billion kWh.

Production by German coal plants was down on one year previously, due to the relatively high carbon prices. This boosted exports to Germany by 0.8 billion kWh.

Electricity imports and exports, Q3
 2020 (bn kWh)2019 (bn kWh)
Total imports3.6885.242
of which
Imports from Germany1.4951.468
Imports from Belgium0.492.493
.
Total exports6.6474.21
of which
Exports to Germany3.1212.316
Exports to Belgium2.0160.281

Substantial increase in renewable electricity

In Q3 2020, over 2.2 billion kWh (41 percent) more electricity was produced from renewable sources. Solar and wind power production in particular saw a sharp increase. The main reason for the increase in solar power is greater capacity. As for higher electricity production from wind, the main factors are the commissioning of an offshore wind farm and more favourable wind conditions on land. Electricity generation from natural gas was up by 1.7 billion kWh (10 percent) in Q3 year-on-year. Production from coal was 24 million kWh (1 percent) down on 2019.

Electricity production per type of energy carrier
Jaar KwartaalNatural gas (bn kWh)Coal (bn kWh)Other (bn kWh)Renewable (bn kWh)
2015Q113.58410.2081.9293.295
2015Q27.9889.9781.6462.891
2015Q39.43410.1622.1592.986
2015Q413.7579.8022.2043.879
2016Q113.4189.5642.063.835
2016Q210.0129.1911.5493.141
2016Q312.0768.1642.0853.294
2016Q415.98510.7392.0723.849
2017Q115.1659.7352.1064.348
2017Q212.2347.6841.353.795
2017Q312.9686.9251.9153.538
2017Q416.3888.2731.9625.081
2018Q114.9229.0222.0664.87
2018Q211.0596.3471.5694.141
2018Q314.516.4641.444.192
2018Q416.1247.3791.9085.033
2019Q118.3037.0451.8455.373
2019Q215.3663.9791.445.274
2019Q317.6042.3051.825.233
2019Q418.7035.841.9695.762
2020Q118.632.6871.9847.555
2020Q215.5871.3551.5947.403
2020Q319.3382.2811.7457.387