Stimulating supply to meet demand

Renewables producers in the Netherlands will in future be allowed to sell electricity directly to the consumer. This is one of a series of initiatives announced by economy minister Annemarie Jorritsma last month to stimulate renewables supply, which is not sufficient to meet the growing demand.

In a presentation to parliament, Jorritsma concentrated on the problems stifling supply of renewables rather than on stimulating more demand. To this end she ruled out any imposition of renewables quotas on end consumers, as requested by the wind lobby. Among measures to tackle the supply-side bottleneck, legislation was proposed to allow central government to compel local councils to make space for new, small scale, wind farms. At the provincial level, the government will also be working to find locations for large scale wind farms, she said. Furthermore, the legal and administrative obstacles which have delayed the construction of large offshore wind farms must be resolved by 2002, she insisted.

Jorritsma is also to abolish articles of the 1995 electricity act forbidding the supply of renewable energy without a license. This will make it possible for renewables producers to sell directly to the consumer without using the utility as middleman.

To facilitate this free trade in green power, a new Green Label certification system is to be developed for introduction on January 1, 2001, on which date the renewable energy market itself will be ready for full liberalisation, the ministry believes. Jorritsma is also keen to accelerate liberalisation of other power markets enabling all consumers to choose a supplier from 2003.

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