Denmark and the Netherlands Raise Green Targets


The Dutch and Danish governments have boosted their efforts to meet EU environmental targets for 2020 this week by setting new national goals for reducing emissions and replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy sources.

Maxime Verhagen, Dutch minister for economic affairs, agriculture and innovation, announced yesterday that the government will cut red tape to support 59 sustainable projects known as Green Deals.

“The government should not impose sustainability by introducing bans,” said Verhagen. “There will be much more success if people and companies work to achieve sustainability.”

The deals cover five sectors: raw materials, water, land, food and energy.

As part of the package, coal-fired power plants will be required to supply at least 10 per cent of their power from biomass. This will help the country achieve its target of generating 14 per cent of energy from renewables by 2020, up from less than four per cent today.

Greenpeace welcomed the move as “a good first step”, but critics argued that the policy is too vague, and opposition MP Stientje van Veldhoven described it as a largely recycled version of the previous government’s green economy plans.

In addition, Dutch utility Nuon told Reuters it is disappointed that offshore wind has been excluded from the package.

 “Offshore wind is necessary if we want to reach 2020 targets,” said Ariane Volz, a spokeswoman for Nuon. “The technology is still expensive and that is why we need the government’s help with it.”

Meanwhile, Helle Thorning-Schmidt​, Denmark’s newly elected first female prime minister, formally adopted a target to cut emissions and increase the supply of renewable energy.

The new centre-left government is aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent by 2020 from 1990 levels, and boost renewable energy to cover half of Denmark’s electricity needs.

The two new national plans came in the same week as UK Chancellor George Osborne vowed that the UK’s carbon emissions targets will match those of its European neighbours in an attempt to protect the competitiveness of UK companies.

“Let’s, at the very least, resolve that we’re going to cut our carbon emissions no slower, but also no faster, than our fellow countries in Europe,” he told the Conservative Party conference in Manchester.



Source: businessgreen, October 06, 2011