Effects of closing three additional coal-fired power stations

The Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL) recently calculated that without additional policy measures the Netherlands will fail to comply with the terms of the ‘Urgenda’ court ruling, which laid down that the country must have achieved a CO2 emissions reduction of at least 25% by 2020. The Netherlands is presently set for only 21% reduction, which means emissions need to be reduced by a further 9 Mt. As a policy measure, the government has announced closure of the Hemweg coal-fired power station at the end of 2019. This will mean a net reduction of around 1.5 Mt, which is still not enough to comply with the ‘Urgenda’ ruling.

CE Delft was asked by three Dutch NGOs (Greenpeace, Natuur & Milieu, Dutch Lung Foundation) to calculate the effect of premature closure of another three coal-fired power plants: Uniper and Engie in the Rotterdam Maasvlakte area and RWE in de Eemshaven port area. The results are presented in this report (in Dutch).

If the three coal plants are closed by 1 January 2020 at the latest, this will give a national CO2 emissions reduction of 9 Mt in 2020, rising to 11 Mt in 2025 and then falling back to 9 Mt in 2029. This is the net reduction in the Netherlands, factoring in the extra CO2 emissions due to greater output from gas-fired power plant. If this additional production is assumed to come from foreign generators, the annual reduction drops to 4-6 Mt (2020-2029).