Leak suggests recommendation to shut Dutch new coal plants

An advisory body to the Dutch government has recommended the shutting of one to two new coal-fired power plants if the country is to meet its emissions reduction targets, according to a leaked document.

Trouw website says the move will be under consideration following a court ruling last year when Dutch citizens challenged the country’s performance in decarbonisation.

The Urgenda legal case was brought by 886 Dutch citizens who said the government is not doing enough to avoid climate change. The court ruled last June the government has a duty of care and cannot hide behind claims that the Netherlands is a small part of a worldwide process.

The Netherlands is on target to reduce emissions by just 17 per cent by 2020 but judges had ruled that figure must reach 25 per cent by the end of the decade.

This can only be done relatively cheaply by closing the power stations, according to the leajed confidential report by research bureau CE Delft, due for official publication next week.

Alternatives to shutting down the power stations would be costly and would lead to higher petrol and energy prices and increased subsidies for solar and wind farms, the report said.

Five coal-fired power stations have already been closed down. Five are left, including two old facilities and three modern power stations run by Uniper, Engie and RWE. They have threatened to take legal action if the government orders their closure.

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