2. Dezember 2021

Veröffentlichungsreihe – 13 von 30 Insights

Renewable Energy Wrap-Up – Netherlands

  • Briefing

With our Corporate Energy @TW series, we aim to highlight current developments and issues in the renewable energy sector across different jurisdictions. Taylor Wessing’s international Energy & Infrastructure industry group has more than 50 experts across 16 offices. We have been active in corporate/M&A and financing in relation to renewable energy for more than 15 years and have extensive legal and commercial expertise and market knowledge. We are currently ranked fourth globally according to the number of renewable energy M&A deals in the Clean Energy League Tables 2021.

Question: What are the most important current developments in the field of renewable energy transactions and financing?
Answer: The Netherlands is aiming for a rapid transition to a low-carbon economy. Ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets are thus at the centre of the country’s energy and climate policy. In October 2017, the Dutch government presented an ambitious energy policy, which aimed to achieve a 49% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 (compared to 1990) and a 95-100% reduction by 2050. On 1 September 2019, the Dutch Climate Act came into force and the Dutch Climate Agreement was introduced. The latter sets out how the Netherlands plans to achieve its CO2 reduction objectives and was prepared in conjunction with 100+ organisations, companies and governmental authorities. It provides for governmental action in the electricity, transport, agriculture and land use, industry, and built environment sectors.
In 2020, renewable energy accounted for 11.1 percent (2019: 8.8 %) of the total Dutch energy consumption. The increase was largely due to rising solar and wind power capacity. While the overall share of renewables is still low, the development of renewable energy projects in the country is speeding up. The Netherlands is supporting large-scale PV and other renewables through the SDE++ program. Large-scale solar continues to prevail in the SDE++ program for large-scale renewable energy projects, which is one of the main drivers of planned and contracted PV capacity in the Netherlands. In June 2021, the Dutch Government selected projects with a combined capacity of 3,535 MW in the second round of its 2020 program. About 1,803 MW of the total can be attributed to rooftop PV, while ground-mounted and floating PV plants will account for 1,732 MW of capacity. Due to the “rapid growth of wind and solar farms”, Dutch Grid company Tennet renewed its warning about severe network congestion until at least 2029. For explanation, it added that 4.8 GW of solar and wind generation capacity was either already in place or under development in the regions of Gelderland and Flevopolder alone – the equivalent of six conventional power plants. The 5.6 GW capacity of the Gelderland and Flevopolder regional network is already contracted.
The need to invest in and to upgrade existing infrastructure is also visible in the offshore industry. Just recently, the European Investment Bank granted a €250 million loan to finance an electricity transmission corridor from Eemshaven to Vierverlaten in the province of Groningen, enabling the transmission of offshore wind energy to Dutch and European users. Given the country’s targets, further investment in energy infrastructure can be expected: total installed capacity of offshore wind power in the Netherlands is around 2.5 GW in 2021 and should increase to at least 4.5 GW by 2023.

In recent years the Netherlands has seen an increase in the demand for the supply of renewable energy from large energy consumers. Large corporates such as AkzoNobel, DMS, Google, Philips, Amazon and Microsoft have signed long term PPAs to secure the supply of renewable energy. We expect this trend to continue as large corporates are striving to cut their carbon emissions. It is expected that this will lead to an increase in negotiations about complex long-term PPAs.

Question: What market developments can be expected towards the end of the year and beyond?
Answer: Due to planned government support and the rising demand for renewable energy from the private sector, we expect an increase in the development of renewable energy projects and an increase of transaction activity.

Question: What has been your personal “game changer” or “highlight” in the field of renewable energies since the beginning of 2021?
Answer: The ruling of a Dutch court against Shell at the end of May 2021 was ground-breaking. For the first time, a multinational company was legally obliged to protect the climate; we can assume this ruling will have a signal effect. The question of whether individuals have a claim to climate protection against companies and states and can assert this claim may have far-reaching and not fully assessable (legal) consequences. In the short term, at least part of these consequences became visible. Shell sold its oil and gas production in the Permian Basin, the biggest American oil field, to ConocoPhillips for $9.5 billion in cash. September 2021 can be interpreted as a strong sign of increasing pressure on European oil companies to exit polluting sectors and move towards producing cleaner energy instead. Shell recently also sold its stakes in offshore oil and gas fields in Malaysia and the Philippines.

Do you have any questions or are you interested in an (interdisciplinary) discussion with our Corporate Energy & Infrastructure team? We look forward to talking to you!

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