Dutch government adviced to rethink lower natural gass prices greenhouse horticulture

Some Dutch farmers can currently count on reduced natural gas tariffs. Whether this will continue remains to be seen. The Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL) is advising the government to reconsider these reduced tariffs.

This agency also wants a review of electricity pricing. At present, this is holding back not only the country's energy transition, but that of the greenhouse horticulture sector too.

The Dutch government is trying to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They are using various policy tools, including financial means that put a price on these emissions. The amount paid for these emissions isn't uniform between or within sectors. And some aren't even priced. Besides greenhouse horticulture, sectors like industry often pay too little for their greenhouse gas emissions as well.

The European Emission Trading System (ETS) is one way in which companies are charged for their emissions. The greenhouse horticultural sector uses a lot of natural gas. That's for combined heat and power systems.

In the past decade, this sector has increasingly been excluded from the ETS. That's partly due to technical modifications or companies being split up on paper. They then remain below the 20 megawatts participation limit.

The Netherlands' greenhouse gas emissions were analyzed in 2018. Based on this, the PBL recommends that these pricing tools be adjusted. It also calls for better coherence between existing policies. See the full report (in Dutch) here.

Will European agriculture and horticulture remain unaffected?
In analyzing the report, the Dutch news agency, NOS, points to European plans too. This Wednesday, European plans on tightening the emissions trading system will be released. It will also become known which sectors will have to prepare for new taxes.

The European agriculture and horticulture sector seems to remain unaffected for now. That's according to NOS, based on leaked news. This information is about kerosene taxes, shipping rules, and that industry's use of fuel oil.

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