Earlier this year, news that an AEB biomass plant in Westpoort was burning pruning from Spain sparked outrage in city council. In fact, tough agreements were made with the company that the timber would come from their neighbours. It now appears that the power plant will continue to burn Spanish wood if necessary and the municipality is helpless.
Aldermen Van Doorninck (sustainability) and Kukenheim (participation) write this in a letter to the city council. According to them, the AEB management decided to continue burning foreign wood for “commercial interests”. The biomass power plant would have been given authority through the supervisory board to burn foreign biomass if insufficient pruning could be found in the area and as a result power supply agreements could not be fulfilled. From March 18 they started burning 2,200 tons of wood from Spain.
When it was decided in 2018 on the arrival of the biomass plant, AEB promised to burn pruning only from within a 150-kilometre radius around Amsterdam. It has been one of the difficult demands of combating deforestation. In addition, comments have been made about the sustainability of biomass as a fuel, because burning wood emits a lot of carbon dioxide.
And so it was a big shock when it was announced in February that The power plant still imports timber from abroad† The Board was upset that they did not participate in the decision, because Amsterdam owns one hundred percent of the shareholders. A review has been requested.
The conclusion of the review is clear: AEB imported lumber outside of its commercial interest and was allowed by the Supervisory Board to continue to do so. “The municipality has obtained legal advice about the possibilities as a contributor to influence the assessment made by AEB management in this regard. This legal advice shows that there is no such room,” the letter to the city council reads.
The decision to import the pruning is part of the operational management and therefore the responsibility of the management, read the letter from an Alderman. As a result, the shareholder, the municipality, cannot exercise any influence. There will be additional research on biomass supply.
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