All companies had to report on April 1 how many tons of carbon dioxide were emitted. Then they have until May 1 to purchase sufficient emission rights. If it later turns out that the company does not have enough rights, you will receive a large fine. However, the NEa never had to issue fines.
Not only has the use of coal increased sharply, but the use of biomass has also increased. Co-combustion of biomass in coal-fired power plants in particular, has grown by more than 38 percent. According to NEa, approximately 6 million households can be supplied with electricity for a year with the amount of energy generated from this. This year, companies had to report for the first time how much carbon dioxide they emit from biomass. That turns out to be 7.6 million tons of carbon dioxide.
According to NEa, biomass meets sustainability criteria. But Mark Pressers admits that there is still a lot of debate about the origin of biomass from countries like Estonia and Canada. “I know there are people who do not trust the system that has been created for this. But these rules are clear. There are strict requirements to ensure the sustainability of biomass.”
He maintains that the criteria go beyond the question of whether enough trees have been replanted. “This also includes ensuring adequate biodiversity in areas of origin, as well as carbon dioxide released during transport.” If there is any doubt about compliance with sustainability requirements, NEa will investigate it. For example, an investigation is currently underway in response to indications about possible violations of forestry rules in Estonia.
No retreat in the industry
What is also remarkable about these numbers is that the industry has not succeeded in reducing emissions. Since 2015, the year of the Paris Climate Agreement, emissions in this sector have hardly fallen. Although this doesn’t matter much for total EU emissions — the European emissions cap is artificially lowered every year, so the CO2 below the line goes down anyway — the industry should still care, according to NEa.
“We also have our own climate agreement in the Netherlands, with our own climate goals. In order to achieve these goals, emissions have to come down even more. So there is definitely something that needs to be done in the industry in this area.”
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