The Netherlands: accelerating the global energy transition

The Netherlands is accelerating the transition to sustainable energy, offering opportunities for global innovators in smart energy solutions:

  • The Dutch government is targeting almost 100% sustainable energy by 2050
  • The Netherlands is pioneering green hydrogen, battery and smart-grid energy technologies
  • To stimulate industry, the Dutch government offers €500m investment to stimulate a €1.25bn hydrogen cluster
  • The Netherlands has 4GW of electrolyzer capacity, 21 GW offshore wind and 136,000km of hydrogen-retrofitted natural gas pipeline by 2030

The Netherlands’ energy ambitions

Businesses across the Netherlands are shaping the world’s approach to the clean energy transition and helping to create a sustainable future for all. The Dutch government also has an ambitious roadmap for its own greenhouse gas reduction. All energy used in the Netherlands will need to come from sustainable sources by 2050. And there are also targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 49% by 2030, and 95% by 2050 (compared to 1990 levels).

A network of innovation

The Dutch energy system is already among the most sophisticated in the world, with a number of internationally-renowned centers of excellence in energy across the country, ranging from Amsterdam, to Groningen, to Brightlands. It is driven by an open-minded energy sector that has attracted an inspirational community of international innovators, from startups and scale-ups to the biggest names in the field.

Government backing

The near-zero emission strategy is enshrined in the Climate Act. And there are a number of key incentives, including a Renewable Energy Grant Scheme (SDE+) for large projects, that total around €130 million a year.

There are also sustainable energy investment grants (ISDE) for heat pumps, solar water heating systems, biomass boilers, and pellet stoves. As well as renewable energy grants for smart technologies that combine production and storage or contribute to smart grids.

Europe’s first hydrogen hub

With 50% of the Netherlands’ 2050 energy mix expected to come from carbon-neutral gas, the government is investing €500m into green hydrogen, with the aim of stimulating a €1.25bn hydrogen industry.

This is a natural progression. The country is already Europe’s No.2 hydrogen producer with 9 million m3. Operated by TNO, the Faraday Lab is the world’s largest hydrogen research facility. Plus, the Netherlands has over 1,000 km of dedicated hydrogen pipeline and is busy retrofitting the 136,000 km natural gas grid to create a ‘national hydrogen backbone’, expected to complete by 2030.

Moving forward, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, and Delfzijl are perfect locations for hydrogen production – with Vattenfall, Gasunie, HyCC/Nobian, and Shell already taking advantage of their convenient import and export connections. Put together, this has led the Netherlands to be considered Europe’s first ‘hydrogen hub’, a world leader on track to becoming a hydrogen economy (PDF).

Taking charge of battery innovation

Battery technology is critical for storing energy between the peaks of wind and solar generation – and the Netherlands holds a central position in Europe’s market. Home battery integration will become increasing important too for solar panel energy storage and transfer, for home use as well as the national grid.

Across the country, there are experts in materials, design and equipment for battery cell technology. They are specialized in solutions related to modules and packs, mobility and storage, stability, safety, and data security. Moreover, they are focused on the reuse, second use and recycling of battery cells. The Battery Competence Cluster – NL also provides easy access to talents who know how to gain a competitive edge and hit the market at scale.

Smart grid technology

As the Netherlands transitions to a more decentralized, renewable energy mix, digital innovations will help to optimize energy distribution, aided by one of the world’s most advanced digital infrastructures. With the government promoting public-private partnerships and decentralized energy, it is fertile ground for smart grid solutions.

Harnessing wind

With vast coastlines and progressive regulation, the Netherlands is a leading force in offshore wind. Driven by the formidable power of the North Sea, the aim is to generate 21.5 GW of capacity by 2030 –16% of the country’s planned energy mix.

Basking in the sun

The Netherlands has one of the highest densities of solar panels in the world, and is behind technologies that have become standards in the global sector. After seeing solar become a big part of our energy mix (40% of our renewable energy production), the government has also invested €400m into a solar panel subsidy scheme that encourages further innovation in the area, like Solliance’s photovoltaic roads.

A move to a brighter, greener future

Beyond our passion for green energy, world-leading talent, cutting-edge facilities, and government support and incentives, there is a culture of collaboration here. A triple-helix, government-education-business community approach that maximizes the effectiveness of colleagues, partners, and clients.

As the country develops its dependable, sustainable energy base, there is an open invitation for international collaboration. Sustainable energy pioneers will find the Dutch energy sector eager to develop scalable solutions that can contribute to reliable net-zero energy systems. Not just for the Netherlands. But to drive the transition across the globe.

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