Cabinet takes energy security measures
- Gas Protection and Recovery Plan (BH-G) triggered
- Urgent call to save energy and national energy saving target
- Output restriction coal-fired power stations lifted with immediate effect
- Temporary gas saving scheme major gas consumers
- Groningen gas field on the back burner as planned; production sites not yet closed
The Cabinet today decided to announce the first phase of a gas crisis: the ‘early warning’. Thus triggering the Gas Protection and Recovery Plan (BH-G). Russia is currently supplying far less gas to Europe than the agreed level, thereby increasing the risk of gas shortages in Europe. There is currently no gas shortage in the Netherlands.
The Cabinet is taking this step to ensure that the Netherlands is well-prepared for the winter period. The Gas Protection and Recovery Plan coming into force means that gas firms will have to share detailed information on gas supplies with the Government on a daily basis. This will enable the Cabinet to monitor the gas market even more tightly and take additional measures as the situation requires. Furthermore, the Cabinet is lifting the output restriction for coal-fired power stations with immediate effect to save gas for the purposes of filling gas storage facilities, and is announcing a national energy saving target and a temporary gas saving tender.
The Gas Protection and Recovery Plan contains measures that the Netherlands can take in the event of a gas shortage risk. The ‘early warning’ is the first of a total of three crisis levels. Currently there are no acute gas shortages in the Netherlands, but falling gas supplies could have consequences, including for energy prices and for filling gas storage facilities in the Netherlands and in north-western Europe, which is necessary to ensure there will be sufficient gas available for the coming winter period. The announcement of the first level of a gas crisis means that gas firms will have to provide additional, detailed information on current gas supplies and stocks on a daily basis. This will enable the Cabinet to monitor the gas market even more tightly and take additional measures promptly as the situation requires.
Call to reduce gas consumption
Falling supplies of Russian gas have made the need to save energy more pressing. Consequently, the Cabinet is exhorting businesses and households to save (or continue to save) as much energy as possible, including during the summer. The ‘dial it down’ (‘Zet ook de knop om’) energy saving campaign will continue on 4 July 2022 with new energy saving advice for businesses and households that is geared towards the summer period. The campaign for businesses includes a tool for SMEs that will provide entrepreneurs with immediate insight into the energy saving and sustainability measures that they can take in their own business and what subsidies are available for that purpose. In addition, the Cabinet is tightening the energy saving requirement for businesses and will establish a national energy saving target.
Coal-fired power stations and gas saving scheme
The increased risk of gas shortages has prompted the Cabinet to decide today to lift the output restriction for coal-fired power stations for 2022-2024 with immediate effect. Consequently, coal-fired power stations will be entitled to operate at full capacity again, driving down gas-fired power stations’ need for gas for the purposes of generating electricity. This will reduce the risk of gas shortages and could make it easier to fill gas storage facilities in the Netherlands and Europe. The aim in that regard is to fill gas storage facilities in the Netherlands by more than has been agreed at European level. The Cabinet will soon be announcing additional measures to compensate for the extra CO2 emissions released by the coal-fired power stations. It will also be developing a temporary gas saving tender in the near future that will provide major gas consumers with a financial incentive to reduce their gas consumption.
Secretary of State for Mining Hans Vijlbrief today informed the House of Representatives of the Netherlands that the Groningen gas field will be put on the back burner in October this year, as promised. The Cabinet would like to be in a position to close the Groningen gas field in 2023. However, the uncertain geopolitical developments have prompted Vijlbrief to refrain from permanently closing down any wells this year.
Rob Jetten, Minister for Climate and Energy Policy: "Russia is clearly weaponising energy. Whereas previously it was the case that the gas supply to specific businesses or countries was being shut off, we are now seeing sharp falls in the overall levels of gas supplies from Russia to Europe. In the absence of additional measures, we will no longer be capable of guaranteeing that we can adequately fill gas storage facilities in Europe and the Netherlands in preparation for the winter. Hence, the Cabinet is announcing an ‘early warning’ to enable us to monitor gas supplies even more tightly. In that respect, I would like to stress that there are currently no gas shortages. We are taking these measures to ensure that we are as prepared as possible. This entailed having to make some tough decisions, including revoking the output limit for coal-fired power stations. This will increase CO2 emissions in the Netherlands, which we intend to compensate for by means of additional measures. As every cubic metre of gas counts going forward, the Cabinet has also issued an urgent call to businesses and households to save as much energy as possible, including during the summer."