Netherlands

Index rank 12

Balance Score

ABB

Energy Sustainability Index Rankings and Balance Score

 2011  2012  2013  Trend Score
Energy Performance  18  18  16   
Energy Security  48  48  42  B
Energy Equity  27  22  23  A
Environmental Sustainability  35  39  35  B
         
Contextual Performance  7  4  4   
Political Strength  12  12  8   
Societal Strength  9  5  4   
Economic Strength  14  16  16   
         
Overall Rank  14  13  12  ABB
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Fossil Fuel Reserves

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Key Metrics

Industrial sector (% of GDP) 24.1
TPEP / TPEC  (net energy importer) 0.71
Emission intensity (kg CO2 per USD) 0.27
Energy affordability (USD per kWh) 0.24
GDP / capita (PPP, USD); GDP Group 41,977 (I)
Energy intensity (million BTU per USD) 0.13
CO2 emissions (metric tons CO2 per capita) 9.92
Population Access to Electricity (%) 100.0
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Index Commentary

The Netherlands moves up one place in the Index rankings to 12 overall. The Netherlands, a ‘Pack Leader’ country, balances the energy trilemma even better this year, as improvements in energy security and environmental sustainability help those dimensions catch up to the country’s energy equity performance. Although total energy consumption increased this year, energy production increased even more, driving better energy security for the Dutch. Energy equity continues to be the country’s strongest energy dimension, despite small increases in the prices of gasoline and electricity. The Netherlands also makes progress in reducing its environmental footprint, as energy and emission intensity decline and CO2 emissions from electricity generation drop slightly. However, the Netherlands still relies of burning fossil fuels to generate a much higher proportion of its electricity (85%) than the other ‘Pack Leaders’, indicating that low and no-carbon sources of electricity need to be further developed if it wishes to remain part of this premier country group. Contextually, the Netherlands remains one of the world’s top performers, with modest improvements being seen on indicators of political strength.

Trends and Outlook

The Netherlands is well-positioned in the Index but still faces a number of challenges. These include: the public debate around installation of additional onshore wind capacity; high expectations of biomass and green gas in the face of challenging markets; ensuring solar surges and geothermal meet promises given the low starting base; and a FIT scheme that is not sufficient to reach targets. Furthermore, energy efficiency progress is fairly slow.

Key energy policy developments are: 1) the green deals – specific arrangements between the national government and individual sustainability initiatives such as energy, water, resources, waste to remove red tape, adjust policies where appropriate, make knowledge available and so on; 2) energy innovation top sector approach designed to strengthen market steering, market involvement and market resources for energy innovation in seven key areas that include gas, solar, offshore wind, industrial efficiency and biomass/bio-based economy; and 3) the SDE+ (stimulation of sustainable/renewable energy) feed in scheme that is fully operational, has significant funding (>1,5 billion Euro/annum) and strong competition between options.

Key trends include a strong de-centralisation of power generation such as solar, wind, small CHP, and to some degree also of gas production (green gas). Policymakers have to create the framework to stimulate or facilitate this development including the upgrade of the existing network such as smart grids. An important area for policymakers to focus on is the bio-based economy, and the liaison of a strong agricultural and chemical sector, and green gas. Finally, the Netherlands is expected to strengthen its position as a gas country, with an increased focus on the role of gas as a balancing fuel in a system that moves towards sustainability.