It is a fact that, in the Netherlands, we lag behind the rest of Europe. The European goal is for 20% of energy demand to be met by sustainable energy by the year 2020. This target is 14% in the Netherlands. More is not feasible for our country and this is the absolute minimum that Europe demands of the Netherlands.
Today, around a year after the signing of the Energy Charter Treaty, it has become clear that not all of the agreements are equally concrete. The government believes that 14% is not feasible and that we can achieve no more than 12.4%. This has been the subject of much discussion. Not all of the agreements are set in stone and some are based on intentions. (Source: Trouw, Oct. 6, 2014) But other reasons can also be given. In our neighboring countries like Germany, the energy focus began much earlier. Whereas we held firmly onto fossil fuels in the Netherlands, alternative sources were used in other countries much earlier.
A second reason is social resistance and a high level of active participation in the Netherlands. Noise pollution and visual intrusion are the arguments given here. Local residents want to be heard, but also want compensation for the inconvenience. If that happens, you will also see a decrease in opposition to the construction of windmills. For this reason, local residents are also being involved increasingly in the planning stage and possibilities are being examined to have them co-invest in energy development in their neighborhood. It is a form of “crowdfunding” that benefits local residents while creating more energy awareness.
A third reason is that, since we became involved in “sustainable energy” at a much later stage, there is not enough knowledge yet for formulating a concrete policy. A fourth reason is cost, as a huge amount of investment capital is needed.