Utility leader calls for regulation

The EU should make it compulsory for European power companies to produce or trade green power, says the boss of a leading European utility. Only in this way can the Netherlands meet its target of 9% renewables by 2010, says Ludo van Halderen, CEO of Dutch power marketer Nuon, one of the world's top ten owners of wind power generation.

Speaking at the presentation of Nuon's 2003 renewables report, Van Halderen said it would be more "efficient and effective" to require all energy suppliers to have a defined percentage of green power in their fuel mix. The exact percentage should be agreed with the EU. "If the obligation was combined with a system of tradable green certificates, energy suppliers could meet their obligations." To back his argument, Van Halderen cited studies by Dutch Energy Research Centre ECN.

The percentage of renewables in Nuon's own fuel mix dropped in 2003. Despite adding 64 MW of renewables capacity to its portfolio and increasing its green power customer base to around 650,000, the proportion of its renewable energy generation fell from 23% in 2002 to 18% in 2003. Nuon attributes the drop to a decrease in renewable energy purchasing and wavering government energy policy.

"Because of the ever-changing policy of the Dutch authorities for stimulation of renewable energy, it is hard to continue our firm policy for renewable energy sourcing," said Van Halderen. "However, we keep to our ambition. I foresee that the reduction of CO2 in energy sourcing and supply will be one of the most important challenges for the worldwide energy sector."

Nuon has signalled its commitment this year with two headline wind projects. Following the opening of its seventh wind farm in Spain, the 36 MW Tardienta plant in Aragon in May, the company took delivery of a 13.5 MW plant at Slufterdam near Rotterdam two weeks later. The plant consists of nine GE 1.5 MW turbines. The opening of Slufterdam West brings Nuon's total wind portfolio to 475 MW, of which 196 MW is in the Netherlands.

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