Netherlands – Renewable Energy to Power the Transport Sector

Posted on June 7, 2011 by

With the coming into force of the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) and with it, the Decree on renewable energy for transport and the Regulation on renewable energy for transport, the transport sector in the Netherlands will see some revamps to its energy mix that will spread over a period of 10 years up to 2020.

While the implementation deadline for the RED was 5 December 2010, the Act itself came into force, retrospectively, on 1 January 2011, repealing the 2007 Biofuels Road Transport Decree along with its accompanying regulations.

The aim of the RED is to reduce dependency on oil imports by extending the utility of renewable energy to the transport sector. The ultimate target is to have a 10 per cent share of renewable energy in the energy mix of the transport sector. Respective annual targets of 4.25 per cent, 4.5 per cent, 5 per cent and 5.5 per cent have been laid down by the Decree for the year 2011 up to 2014. Future targets to meet the 10 per cent overall target for 2020, shall be discussed in 2014. Obligated entities can meet these targets through the utility of biofuels and other renewable energies or through the purchase of contracts, for the purchase and sale of biofuel rights, known as Biotickets.

Monitoring and registration

Under this scheme, there will be an automated central register to be managed by the Netherlands Emission Authority (NEA). Each obligated entity must open an account in the register to administrate its biofuels transactions including the characteristics of those biofuels. The register also tracks the resale of such fuels, the trade in biotickets and other forms of renewable energy for transport. The NEA is not, however, expected to be fully automated before 2013 and is still under development.


Only those renewable energies compliant to the sustainability criteria set out in the RED will be counted towards the realization of the targets.

Compliance can be proven through a sustainability audit by an accredited auditor. The Regulation provides that all obligated entities must provide these verification declaration on sustainability. The Sustainability scheme must be accepted by the European Commission or by a relevant Dutch minister based on a Dutch verification protocol.

Enforcement mechanism

Failure to comply with the obligations laid down by the RED could constitute a criminal offence. Moreover, administrative measurements such as penalties or orders for periodic penalties may be imposed on the offender.

Lastly, to stay in line with the set targets, offending entities will also be required to compensate, for any non-compliance, in the following year.

There are still a lot of follow ups required before the system becomes robustly established. The NEA is still to be automated and there are still no regulations regarding the reporting by Member States or regarding acceptable certification systems for sustainability verification. Moreover, once 2014 has lapse, the Netherlands will have to set tough targets to meet the proposed 10 per cent target, by 2020. Until these developments take place, the current measures described in the Regulation will have to suffice.

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