Comprehensive approach to energy transition needed

Earlier closure of Amer 9 would not lead to an effective CO2-reduction

Highly flexible and efficient coal plant Amer 9 is planned to co-fire biomassand would therefore reduce CO2-emission significantly 

The Dutch government has announced its plan to further reduce CO2 in order to reach the climate protection targets of 2020. The Government proposes to close down two coal plants, including the RWE plant in Geertruidenberg Amer 9, sooner than foreseen by 2020. This is very surprising. 

RWE supports the result of the Paris climate agreement. The Energy Agreement, the 2020 renewable energy targets as well as the EU CO2-reduction targets for 2030 and the ETS are favourable since they help to reach this goal and they are focused on a stable investment climate for decarbonisation. 

In our vision, the proposed measure to close Amer 9 by 2020 would not lead to an effective CO2-reduction and undermine the achievement of the 2020 renewable targets (the Netherlands is currently trailing almost all EU countries regarding these renewable targets). 

Biomass integral part of the Energy Agreement

RWE wants to reduce CO2-emissions of Amer 9 by increasing co-firing of bio mass up to 50 % on short term. This brings emissions close to that of a modern gas power station. Amer 9 will then contribute strongly to the target of 14 % renewables by 2020 as agreed in the Energy Agreement.

The Amer 9 will then be a driver for the biobased economy because the logistical chain of biomass is the basis for biorefinery and biochemical appliances and it is an important activity for the Ports. These positive effects explains why co-firing biomass is an integral part of the Energy Agreement, which the company fully supports, the closure of Amer 8 at the end of 2015 is a consequence. 

The Amer 9 plays a key role in providing cost effective energy for homes in Brabant, by generating heat for the cities of Tilburg and Breda, based on long term contracts. Fuels are thus used very efficiently for generating electricity and heating homes, businesses and greenhouses. And by using biomass for heating, the Netherlands reduces dependence on gas. 

The consequences of closing Amer 9 would be far reaching. It is not only to worry about not meeting the renewable energy targets for 2020 and 2030. It´s also the increase of power prices which shall widen the price difference between the Netherlands and Germany. Negative consequences for the Dutch competitive position are foreseeable. Besides this, the general investment climate in the Netherlands would become insecure and the development of biobased economy will be hampered. Finally jobs would be at risk not only at the power stations but also with suppliers and ports. 

Reliable energy politics means to look for a balance of security of supply, affordable energy prices and sustainability as well as supporting a stable and reliable investment climate. “With Amer 9 we can strongly support the energy transition. There is no reason to carry out isolated measures, which are no solution for the Urgenda case, but harm the comprehensive process by the Cabinet, to investigate future scenario’s for coal stations in conjunction with, security of supply, financial effects and climate effects”, Roger Miesen, responsible board member of RWE Generation, said. “It is necessary to stick to this plan with regards to the consequences for the climate, the customers, the industry and not in the last place for the employees.”