Overall assessment

Updated December 2022

In general, the environment for participation in energy communities in the Netherlands is supportive. The Dutch Climate Agreement sets out a non-binding policy objective of 50% local ownership of renewable energy (e.g. PV and wind) on land by 2030. However, there are many specific elements of the enabling framework that have not yet been addressed, or where specific details are missing (e.g. energy sharing and cooperation with the DSO). Despite this, the Government claims there are no significant barriers to starting an energy community, which is not necessarily accurate. Having said that, the Dutch government has adopted funding instruments that help energy communities with pre-construction activities, and there is also a dedicated renewables support scheme that supports energy cooperatives.

Overall, there is a generally supportive framework that allows energy communities to engage in a number of different activities. However, the Dutch government has yet to undertake a real barriers assessment, and there are still a number of regulatory burdens for energy communities that must be addressed, particularly around energy sharing and supply.

Detailed assessment

Assessment of obstacles and potential for development of ECs

The Dutch Government has stated in its Explanatory Note to the Energy Law that transposes energy communities in to Dutch law that it has concluded there are no barriers for energy communities. However, an official REC potential assessment has been carried out in 2019 by the consultancy ASI-Search by order of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy. This report somewhat contradicts the government’s conclusion about the lack of barriers, specifically citing difficulties around professionalization of the cooperative energy sector.

Removal of unjustified regulatory & administrative barriers

The Energy Act contains a provision that allows an energy community producing electricity or gas to supply without a licence if:

  1. over the period of a year, the energy community does not supply more electricity or gas than it imports into the system on an annual basis;
  2. is supplied to end customers with a small connection who are members or shareholders of the energy community; and
  3. the energy community does not have more members or individual shareholders than a number to be determined by number to be determined by ministerial regulation;

The Regulator is charged with developing further regulations to operationalize this rule. However, details are still pending. Interestingly, this exemption may apply to a supplier outside the Netherlands, as long as it supplies less than 500 end customers with a small connection and they are located in areas along the Dutch national border. This provision promotes local/regional cooperation between bordering communities with Germany and Belgium.

DSO duties around cooperation with ECs and facilitation of energy sharing

Not addressed in the transposition. It is worth noting that the Netherlands has categorized energy sharing as supply. As such, this activity might not interact with DSOs, or imply the same duties, as energy sharing in other Member States.

Fair, proportionate, and transparent registration & licensing procedures

Not addressed in the transposition.

Incentives connected to network tariffs based on a CBA

Not addressed in the transposition. It is worth noting that the Netherlands has categorized energy sharing as supply. As such, this activity might not interact with DSOs, or imply the same duties, as energy sharing in other Member States.

Non-discriminatory treatment as market participant

The Energy Act creates a rule that prevents a market participant from disadvantaging or preventing a final or active customer from participating in an energy community. Provisions in agreements between market actors and final or active customers that contravene this rule are voidable.

Accessibility to low-income & vulnerable households

Not addressed in the transposition.

Tools to access finance

Together with the Ministry of Economic Affairs, InvestNL and the Green Fund, Energie Samen has set up the Development Fund for energy cooperatives (‘Ontwikkelfonds voor energiecoöperaties’). The National Green Fund provides loans from the Development Fund to Energie Samen as fund manager. The business office of Energie Samen does the implementation of the fund management in cooperation with regional umbrella organizations and project offices. When financial closure for the project is achieved, the cooperative pays back the money made available with a premium. In this way, the Development Fund ultimately sustains itself. Renewable energy cooperatives and associations can borrow money from the Development Fund for:

• staff support (project supervisor) from a member project office

• ‘out-of-pocket costs' for specialist research or other necessary steps to arrive at a fundable business case and an irrevocable permit for the project. Currently, the provinces of South Holland, Utrecht, Limburg and Drenthe contribute to the fund and energy cooperatives from these provinces can apply for funding. In each of these regions, a regional coordinator is appointed by the fund manager (Energie Samen). Whenever an application to the fund is received, the fund’s business office will, in consultation with the regional coordinators:

  • establish contact with the local energy cooperative applying for a loan;
  • handle funding requests;
  • assess the viability of the applicant's organisation and plans;

propose to the National Green Fund that loans be granted to applicants from the Development Fund, according to predefined frameworks and conditions.

Tools to access information

Not addressed in the transposition.

Regulatory capacity building for public authorities

Not addressed in the transposition.

NECP reporting on enabling frameworks

Not addressed in the transposition. Member States are required via the Governance Regulation (2018/1999) to report on their enabling frameworks for RECs by 15 March 2023.

Support Scheme adapted for RECs

Form of support for community production projects

There is a specific operational subsidy (or feed-in premium) for renewable energy communities called the ‘Cooperative Energy Generation’ (SCE) subsidy. This scheme replaced the reduced rate tax provision (postcoderoorsregeling). The subsidy is targeted specifically at energy cooperatives and associations of co-owners. It is paid out in form of an amount of money per kWh produced. Eligible technologies are wind power (15-1000 kW), PV (15-500 kWp) and hydropower (15-150 kW). Furthermore, all participants in the cooperative have to live within the ‘zip code catchment area’ of the renewable power installation (cf. the ‘Postcoderoos’ arrangement). Each year a basic amount is set for each type of installation. The basic amount is the amount per kWh produced, which is necessary to make the installation profitable. The basic amount for the year in which a cooperative applies for the subsidy is valid for the entire subsidy period of 15 years, so there is long-term certainty about the return on investment.

• The subsidy per kWh received is the difference between the basic amount and the correction amount. • The correction amount is the market price for energy. If the energy price rises, the cooperative will receive less subsidy and if the energy price falls, the cooperative will receive a higher subsidy. The basic energy price is the lower limit of the corrective amount.

• The energy produced must have been certified by CertiQ (Guarantees of Origin) in order to be eligible for the subsidy. The total available SCE subsidy for 2020 is 150 million €. Subsidies are attributed on a ‘first-come, first-serve’ basis.