Netherlands energy co-ops raise alarm as solar subsidies run out

Fearing the situation could hamper the carbon transition, some MPs have called for subsidies to be increased

Local energy co-ops in the Netherlands have warned that solar projects are being left unfinished because government subsidies are running out.

In a report by public broadcaster NOS, co-ops said the cuts to funding are increasing the costs of solar installations, posing a barrier to the transition from gas heating.

The government had increased its financial support from €37m to €92m but this has been spent, with 560 out of the 740 applications approved.

Many co-operatives say they will have to wait another year and argue that the government should have earmarked more money.

The Netherlands has hundreds of energy co-ops and the public has been enthusiastic in its take-up of state solar subsidies. But now there are concerns that this enthusiasm could be dampened as the cash runs out.

Paul Stolte, of Lochem Energie co-op in Gelderland, told NOS: “People really want sustainable electricity but can’t have solar panels on their own roofs. A co-operative is the only way to achieve it.”

Co-ops are now hoping the government will respond with increased support – with some MPs backing the call.

Labour (PvdA) Party MP Joris Thijssen said the there should be no limit on the number of co-ops going ahead with project. And Green Left ( GroenLinks MP) Tom van der Lee said the subsidy has to be “structural and higher”.

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