The Netherlands backs 3.21 GW of renewable energy projects

The Dutch government has allocated subsidy grants to thousands of domestic renewable energy projects, with a combined power-generating capacity of 3.21 GW.

The awards were made under the ‘Spring Round’ of its 2017 SDE+ (Stimulation of Renewable Energy Production) subsidy programme.

SDE+, managed by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) on behalf of the Dutch government, is designed to compensate plant operators for the difference between the cost price and the market value of the renewable energy they supply. The programme is open to all wind, solar and other green energy projects with a generating capacity greater than 15 kW.

Subsidies are then granted either for eight, 12 or 15 years, depending on the maximum number of full load hours for the technology.

RVO had a budget ceiling of 6 billion euros (US$7.14 billion) for the bidding round. It received 4,673 subsidy applications totalling some 7.1 billion euros (US$8.5 billion). Of those, 4,530 projects were selected based on technical and economic viability, and these will be eligible to receive financial backing to the tune of a combined 5.83 billion euros (US$6.95 billion).

The vast bulk of the projects (4,386) involve photovoltaic (PV) solar plants, ranging in scale from the minimum qualification size up to Solarfields’ Vloeivelden Hollianda development in Borger in the Dutch province of Drenthe, which will comprise of two farms with a total potential capacity of 69.6 MW.

PV projects accounted for 2.35 GW of the total capacity being subsidised. The bulk of the remainder will be taken up by large-scale onshore wind projects (644 MW), while an assortment of other schemes involving biomass, geothermal, solar thermal and hydropower were also successful.

Reflecting wider trends in the technology, while PV plants accounted for around three-quarters of the total installed capacity, they will receive less than half (49%) of the available funding, with wind farms receiving 38%.

In a letter to the Dutch parliament, Minister of Economic Affairs Henk Kamp said the success of solar PV in the bidding round had been made possible by recent cost reductions achieved by the technology.

“If all projects from the Spring Round are fully realised, they will produce 21.38 PJ of renewable energy per year. This corresponds to a contribution of 1.1 percentage points towards the share of renewable energy,” he added.

The next SDE+ round will be open to bidders from October 3 to 26. The available budget for this will also be 6 billion euros.