Crystal clear green

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Unless the Dutch government implements stricter controls on the green power market, customers are likely to lose confidence in green electricity, says the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), one of the bodies charged with monitoring the Netherlands' newly liberalised trade in renewable energy.

The WWF, which has supervised the sale of green electricity in the Netherlands since 1995, has asked economics minister Annemarie Jorritsma to improve government control at a number of points. It is particularly important that consumers should have a clear idea of what they have bought and that they see that their purchase has a direct effect on renewables generation capacity, says the environmental organisation.

It is not enough for the government to simply monitor the issue and expiration of the new green certificates, it should also audit the utilities' accounts to ensure that power companies don't sell more green electricity than they produce or buy, says the WWF. Moreover, the energy companies should provide customers with a clear indication of the origin of the green power they consume. Accordingly, the government should extend its supervisory powers.

The government also needs to exercise a strict control on green energy imports in order to prevent green power being sold twice. Renewable energy produced abroad should only be imported as green electricity when it meets the same conditions as Dutch renewables, meaning that the country of origin must also operate a certificate system, says the WWF.

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