June 2013

Energy policy for the future

To ensure sufficient options for drastic CO2 emission reductions in the long term, we need to invest in innovation today, said Sander Lensink of ECN in the Dutch television discussion programme Watt Nu? 16 per cent renewable energy for the Netherlands in 2020, as targeted by the Dutch cabinet, should be feasible, provided that we put our shoulders to the wheel. Citizens should take initiatives themselves and the government needs to provide clear outlines and maintain them. Only then will it become worthwhile for businesses to invest in innovations.

In Germany the share of renewable energy is already much higher compared to the Netherlands, but this quick growth is also encountering problems.  The Netherlands can learn from Germany‚Äôs experiences, says Lensink. One example is that we should not only invest in technology for generating renewable energy, but also in a good electricity grid to balance its instability. Another lesson is that there should be openness about the expected cost increase resulting from enhancing the sustainability of energy supply, and that these costs should be distributed evenly across the large users, citizens and SMEs.