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Coals To Rotterdam

June 22, 2019

By Paul Homewood



BP Energy Review


The Netherlands is one of the countries planning to phase out coal power by 2030.

Last year coal supplied more than a quarter of their electricity, with another half coming from natural gas. By contrast, wind and solar provided just 12%.


The significance to the UK is that we regularly import electricity via the 1000 MW Dutch interconnector. Today it has been running flat out, supplying 3.7% of our demand:



Once the Netherlands closed all of their coal capacity, we are entitled to ask how they will be able to supply their own needs, never mind have a surplus to export to us.

The idea that they might have some surplus wind power at times of windy weather is plainly absurd, as we will be in the same boat. It is when wind power is at a minimum when we will need proper dispatchable backup.

I dare say the virtue signallers in the Dutch government will naively assume that they will be able to import whatever they need from elsewhere in Europe, just as the idiots here do.

They, and we, may be in for an almighty shock.

  1. Shoki Kaneda permalink
    June 22, 2019 10:16 pm

    This might not be the worst thing. There may well be considerable near-term pain, but longer term, perhaps the Dutch will show some spine and depose their “leaders”.

  2. June 22, 2019 10:51 pm

    Reblogged this on Climate- Science.

  3. Gamecock permalink
    June 22, 2019 11:58 pm

    The decadent assume there will always be power.

  4. Joe Public permalink
    June 22, 2019 11:59 pm

    “Last year coal supplied more than a quarter of their electricity, with another half coming from natural gas.”

    “Once the Netherlands closed all of their coal capacity, we are entitled to ask how they will be able to supply their own needs, never mind have a surplus to export to us.”

    Couple that with …

    “Dutch Govt To Start Turning Off Gas Supply To Households

    For many, the decision taken by the government at the end of March to stop extracting natural gas at Groningen was monumental. After years of damage-causing earthquakes, the government said it was no longer socially responsible to keep drilling in the area. Though the decision came sooner and was stated more firmly than was generally expected, it plays into the government’s long-standing aim to stop producing natural gas by 2030.”

  5. Graeme No.3 permalink
    June 23, 2019 12:14 am

    The dutch coal and gas plants don’t emit CO2. They buy cheap Certificates from Norway who have plenty from their hydro system. These offset their emissions under EU rules.
    There won’t be anything happening until the current mob of politicians have gone, and their replacements have to deal with the EU, if it still exists.

    • June 23, 2019 11:19 am

      These certificates are nothing more than novo-indulgences in like manner to the Catholic Church in yester years.

      As for the UK week of nil coal output. Totally FALSE NEWS.

      Similarly the absurd falsity of the carbon neutrality of biomass generation, now incorporated into legal status is not only damaging but is fundamentally FALSE and undermines respect for the Law.

      • Ben Vorlich permalink
        June 23, 2019 1:02 pm

        I downloaded the generation data for 2019 so far from Gridwatch to check the BBC claim of 50%+ renewable/zero carbon for the year. I discounted everything except Wind and Solar and came up with 20%. Even adding hydro it falls well short. Unlike the BBC I discounted nuclear, biomass, and interconnectors because they aren’t renewable/zero carbon or in the case of nuclear the greens hate it. Even then it is not going to do what the BBC claim.

  6. frederikwisse permalink
    June 23, 2019 12:37 am

    Well there is Always hope for the better in Holland . The biggest political party in the recent local elections was a completely new one with a program to eradicate the foolish european burocracy and the climate change foolishness . The present ruling class is playing directly into the hands of this new political party with its greenish radicalism robbing the dutch citizens from their prosperous life already for the last ten years and now creating a lower class not even capable to buy the basics for a decent life , They are intending to continue on this path . Well next election will show the support of the electorate like Australias surprise ….

    • Mike Jackson permalink
      June 23, 2019 1:53 pm

      In reality these certificates are worse than Indulgences. The principle behind indulgences was that in exchange for an extra bit of penance now some of the residual punishment that might still be due in the afterlife (before you got to go upstairs!) was remitted.

      They were never intended as a licence to carry on sinning. Which carbon credits patently are!

  7. June 23, 2019 1:21 am

    It would be useful to see a live breakdown of generation in the Netherlands but the data doesn’t appear to be published. The nearest could get to it is –
    I suspect it is their dirty little ‘secret

  8. Saighdear permalink
    June 23, 2019 8:50 am

    Wot e papers say: Not Coals to Rotterdam BUT from Trains to Planes . uhuh the climate plug again from a reviewer on bb see. Bu we are often told that Flying is the Safest mode of Transport… now doesn’t Safety have an environmental cost? HOw much Time, Effort & Finance is given up to Elves in Safe Tea We are told about Environmental impacts on our health etc…. and the effects on the Environment from our Accidents. ( Accidents ? Hell, what about Warfare and Land/SeaTrials of Exposives, etc.)

  9. June 23, 2019 9:44 am

    This looks more and more like a race to the bottom, to see who can be the first country to fatally undermine their national electricity supply and stunt their economy.

  10. June 23, 2019 10:48 am

    An interesting assessment can be found here

    Only fossil fuels and nuclear fuels have the ability to power megacities in 2050, when over half of the then 9B people will live in them.

    As the more severe predictions of climate change over the last 25 years are simply not happening, it makes no sense to deploy the more costly options for renewable energy.

    Abandoned infrastructure projects (such as derelict wind and solar farms in the Mojave desert) remain to have their progenitors mocked for decades.”

    Germany electricity use can be found at

    If you take a typical data set, e.g May 1, 2018, 2.45 PM total consumption is about 17 GW. Germany has said they will get rid of nuclear, and coal so when there is no sun and the wind is a whisper they are able to generate around 3 GW, so where is the other 14 GW going to come from? No doubtthe consumption will escalate significantly if the country turns to electric vehicles.

    Why can’t the politicians see the obvious?

    • dave permalink
      June 23, 2019 11:58 am

      “Why can’t the politicians see the obvious?”

      They have been so busy for so long trying to dodge the daily hammering from the “moulders of public opinion” who control the BBC, The Academic Swamp, etc. etc., that their brains are total mush.

      We have at the moment the astonishing spectacle of all media attention being focused on trying to stop Brexit – on the grounds that Boris Johnson’s girlfriend shouted at him when he spilled some wine on her couch; all of which apparently is conclusive truth of something or other.

  11. Dave Ward permalink
    June 23, 2019 4:44 pm

    “We may be in for an almighty shock”

    “We” (as in readers of this, and other similar blogs) won’t be. But as for the rest of the public, particularly the Greens….

  12. It doesn't add up... permalink
    June 24, 2019 1:30 am

    Of course there are some plans. TenneT is expecting to connect 11.5GW of offshore wind from Dutch waters by 2030, and 11 GW in German waters, with the possibility of a landfall at Eemshaven, amid talk of connecting to sharing these with the UK via an artificial island in the North Sea. The problem of course is that wind output will be highly correlated with the UK’s, leading to protracted periods of low wind on the one hand, and surplus production with no home that will have to be at least partly curtailed at other times – unless they can make “green hydrogen” work.

    As a bulk consumer of natural gas, the industrial sector is well-placed to pursue large-scale electrification. This will further increase the demand for electricity, which will be met by future offshore wind farms. The use of green hydrogen, produced using sustainable electricity instead of natural gas, will also drive demand for electricity. Green hydrogen will also provide flexibility (because it can be stored) and, in that way, will contribute to the security of supply. In addition, green hydrogen will enable sectors like land- and water-based transport to dramatically reduce their CO2 emissions. According to an analysis commissioned by TenneT, the production capacity for green hydrogen could grow tenfold every five years and investment costs could be reduced by 40 percent every five years. The cost reductions are necessary to make the use of green hydrogen possible.

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      June 24, 2019 11:51 am

      I wonder if they plan to use Groningen for storage?

      • Ivan permalink
        June 24, 2019 2:45 pm

        Hydrogen is already stored in geological stores, especially in salt caverns. quotes an ETI report that UK has sufficient potential salt cavern storage that could in principle allow it to be used for electricity storage on a scale of tens of GW.

        Whether this potential is of any value depends on whether you can practically convert excess electricty into hydrogen, and back to electricity, at scale. CCC didn’t think so, in part because they didn’t think large scale electrolysis is practical. The round-trip efficency at current technology of 30-40% is also a bit of a killer. Thermodynamically there is potential to increase it to about 50%, but I guess that might still be too low. If you are going to make your “green hydrogen” by steam reformation of methane and carbon capture, it makes more sense just to burn the methane and do carbon capture.

        Going back to the main issue, much larger interconnection is a practical necessity in a higher renewables future, even if the Dutch soon have no coal power to export to us. Renewables correlation reduces over longer distances. A multinational approach to energy security will save a lot of money, but so far there is not much sign of that in the EU.

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        June 24, 2019 4:31 pm

        My comment about using Groningen relates to the fact that a) it is a very large, full connected reservoir, which would make extracting the hydrogen again difficult, as it would diffuse away from the injection wells, and b) the reason for halting production from there is induced seismicity, not end of reservoir life.

        You have to go a long way to reduce correlation for wind generation. In essence, there is a high degree of correlation across Northern Europe, with only a significantly lower (but still positive) correlation with Mediterranean or Black Sea weather systems. You are left with a need for 95% backup to avoid the potential for blackouts. I’ve looked at the data here:

        (Warning 131MB download, you need big 64 bit spreadsheets to analyse the data)

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