The Netherlands not ready for smart and sustainable energy system
The Netherlands is lagging hopelessly behind in implementing European obligations for a transition to smart and sustainable energy. According to Professor Saskia Lavrijssen, this is the current state of affairs in the Netherlands, as she observes in her inaugural address on Friday, June 17th, at Tilburg University.
In the energy system of the future, consumers will be more active players. Both market surveillance and legal protection of consumers are in urgent need of adjustment.
According to Lavrijssen one of the major problems is that European and national laws are still based on the traditional, old-fashioned market model in which centrally managed, large-scale coal- and gas-fired power plants produce energy to customer demand. Energy consumers are regarded as passive parties.
By contrast, the energy system of the future is smart and sustainable, with IT applications making it possible to efficiently match supply of and demand for sustainable energy. It will turn consumers into active players, responding to financial incentives to either or not use energy at specific moments, or supply self-generated energy to the system. The system will be organized in such a way that everybody will charge their cars when the sun is shining, for instance, or will postpone their use of energy when there is not enough sunshine or wind.
Lavrijssen points out that new legislation is needed to ensure that innovations for energy transition can take place and for market parties and consumers to take on new roles.
Procedures for the implementation of important energy decisions and the required level of legal protection will also have to be adjusted to the new systems and to the active role of consumers. Procedural innovations are needed to improve the position of energy consumers, giving them more of a say, increasing their participation, and offering them legal protection in regard to decisions on energy regulations by the Autoriteit Consument en Markt (ACM – Consumer and Market Authority) that affect their interests where affordable, reliable and sustainable energy supply is concerned.
It is important that consumers be given better opportunities to exert influence in advance on the conditions and rates for access to the energy system. By creating support for the content of energy decisions, time–consuming and expensive legal procedures afterwards can be prevented.
Lavrijssen supports earlier pleas for appointing an independent Climate Commissioner in the Netherlands. This Climate Commissioner would oversee the realization of a durable energy supply, and pursue this goal independently and consistently.
Provided by Tilburg University