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Dutch parliament calls for coal phase out

26 Nov 2015 17:42 GMT
Dutch parliament calls for coal phase out

London, 26 November (Argus) — The lower house of the Dutch parliament has adopted a motion calling for the phase-out of coal-fired power plants, which could push the leading VVD party to take further measures.

The government has been asked to draw up a plan with the energy sector to shut down all coal-fired capacity, taking into account the growing share of renewable energy, the country's CO2 emissions, and financial and legal aspects.

No specific timeframe for closing all coal plants has been put forward, but supporters said the proposal was a first step towards a less-polluting Dutch energy mix.

The motion was backed by eight political parties including coalition government member the PvdA. The governing VVD party — which holds 40 of 150 seats in parliament — opposed the proposal.

Prime minister Mark Rutte has warned that closing all coal plants would put the Netherland's security of power supply at risk and would force the country to increase imports. But proponents said the phase-out is technically and financially feasible, and is necessary to curtail Dutch carbon emissions.

The House of Representatives can propose legislation, and if a filed motion is adopted by a majority, the proposal is sent to the Senate. The latter has no right to change or amend it — it can either accept or reject it.

The VVD party only has 13 of the 75 representatives in the upper house of parliament, which makes it likely that the motion will be adopted.

The Netherlands became the first country in the world to see a court rule that it must intensify its efforts to cut emissions earlier this year. The district court of Hague decided in June that the government's existing 17pc reduction target for 2020 was inadequate and that it must do more to avert climate change.

There are 11 coal-fired plants in the Netherlands with total installed capacity of around 7.3GW. Five of the oldest plants are scheduled for decommissioning next year and in 2017 — Amercentrale 8, Borsele, Nijmegen and Maasvlakte 1 and 2 — but four new highly-efficient units became operational this year.

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