ECN is not only active in technological research and development; it
also plays a major role in policy research and development. Since national
energy policy is increasingly influenced by developments at the European
level and vice versa, ECN is shifting its attention from a national
to a European focus. More and more, national energy and environmental
policies are implemented within the framework of EU directives, while
reversibly the success of European policies is dependent on harmonised
national actions in a liberalised European energy market.
To demonstrate this shifting research orientation towards a European
position ECN decided to highlight four major national topics that dominated
policy discussions in the Netherlands during 2003 in this special publication.
- The first topic concerns changes in national renewable energy
policy. Earlier policies had led to a dramatic increase in imports of
renewable electricity with major fiscal consequences and it was decided
to redress the balance towards stimulating domestic investment in renewable
- In the summer of 2003 extreme weather events led to an electricity
supply crisis providing a short-term argument to look into the policy
options for preventing shortages. The opportunities and limitations
of demand side response to electricity supply shortages is the second
- Regarding climate change policies the most notable development
undoubtedly concerns the impending implementation of a greenhouse gas
emissions trading scheme. The focus in this chapter is on the interaction
between the EU directive on emissions trading and the Dutch approach.
- As a relatively small country the Netherlands has always found
it difficult to make appropriate energy research and development choices.
During 2003 new directions in RD&D policies were determined. Apart
from the optimal choice of nationally relevant research priorities,
an additional vexing problem concerns the relative amounts of public
resources spent for promoting RD&D versus stimulating market deployment.
This problem is addressed in the last chapter.
Finally, for the benefit of those unfamiliar with the major facts on
the Dutch energy sector, we have added a selection of statistical figures
as a general reference source.
We hope that these capita selecta of energy policy developments in the
Netherlands provide an appealing impression of the Dutch policy arena
in 2003 while at the same time demonstrating the European scope of the
policy research at ECN.
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