In a Nutshell
- While most of the policies underway in the Netherlands focus on developing carbon capture and storage (CCS) networks, CDR is gaining prominence in Dutch climate policy.
- The Dutch Climate Act sets a 55% greenhouse gas emissions reduction target by 2030 and a climate neutrality target by 2050.
- Several big CCS projects are under development in the Netherlands. The Stimulation of Sustainable Energy Production and Climate Transition (SDE++) scheme provides a subsidy that could be applicable to CCS-based CDR projects as well, such as BECCS and DACCS.
- The government has been tasked with developing a CDR Roadmap following a request by the Dutch House of Representatives.
Role for carbon removal in national climate policy
Several Dutch climate policy documents align in pursuit of the nation’s net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions goal by 2050. While attention centres on developing carbon capture and storage (CCS), carbon dioxide removal (CDR) is emerging as a key component of climate mitigation efforts.
The Dutch Long-Term Strategy outlines the general climate policy direction, emphasising the consideration of all options, including the use of biomass and CCS. It discusses the role of negative emissions, including soil carbon sequestration, afforestation, and bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS).
The Dutch Climate Agreement led to the Dutch Climate Plan 2021-2030. It highlights CCS as a key instrument in the decarbonisation of the industry sector. Measures in the land-use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF) sector focus on soil carbon sequestration and afforestation. Following the adoption of more ambitious climate targets in the EU Climate Law, the government presented an additional package of measures, including introducing the use of BECCS in electricity generation, which is forecasted to result in net emissions reductions of 1MtCO2.
Finally, in the recently submitted draft update to the Dutch National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP), CDR is recognised as a cross-sectoral measure. It will likely only play a limited role up to 2030, despite the NECP finding that there are opportunities to gain experience with different CDR pathways. The NECP discusses mostly BECCS, mentioning that biomass use will need to follow sustainability requirements.
Relevant legal frameworks
A new version of the Dutch Climate Act was recently adopted in accordance with European climate law, transposing EU requirements in national legislation by requiring the Netherlands to reduce GHG emissions by 55% by 2030, reach net zero GHG emissions by 2050 and aim for negative GHG emissions thereafter.
One of the main tools introduced to bring down industrial GHG emissions is the CO2 tax for the Dutch industry. It started at EUR 30 per tonne of CO2 in 2021 and will rise to EUR 125 per tonne in 2030. If the price of the EU ETS is lower than the price set by the tax, the difference between the two needs to be paid. However, the tax only applies to CO2 emissions above the EU-ETS benchmarks. CCS can be used to obtain deduction rights. At the time of writing, it is not clear whether CCS-based CDR would generate such rights, meaning that both emissions reductions and removals could be supported by the scheme.
Internationally, the Netherlands was one of the early countries to ratify the amendment to Article 6 of the London Protocol regarding transborder CO2 for under-seabed geological storage. The country has started to engage in bilateral cooperation with other countries, including Belgium and Denmark. It is also forming close ties with Norway on CO2 transport and storage as part of its ambitions to become a European CCS hub.
Support for R&D and Innovation
Several big CCS projects are under development in the Netherlands. Although these projects cannot be considered CDR, they do provide the infrastructure for CCS-based CDR methods such as BECCS and DACCS.
The Porthos project got the green light in August 2023 to develop storage sites in empty gas fields. It received a guaranteed EUR 2.1 billion in funding over 15 years, even though the support might be considerably lower considering rising EU-ETS prices. Effectively, support will only be given if the EU-ETS price is lower than EUR 90/tonne CO2. Construction should start in 2024, and operations in 2026, with the aim to store 2.5 MtCO2 per year over 15 years. The Aramis CCS project aims to provide storage capacity of 22 MtCO2 per year after 2030. It has been granted Project of Common Interest (PCI) status, which means it is eligible for Connecting Europe Facility funding.
There are also some cross-border projects at various stages of development. Noordkaap would transport and store offshore biogenic CO2 from a biomass plant. The CO2TransPorts PCI would connect the Porthos project to Antwerp through a pipeline. Finally, the Delta Rhine Corridor project would connect Germany to the port of Rotterdam through a network of CO2 pipelines linking to the Aramis project for the storage part, with a planned start of operations in 2028.
The SDE++ scheme bridges the financial gap between EU ETS pricing and CCS project construction and operation costs, covering CO2 capture, transport and storage. The subsidy cap on CCS was eliminated in 2023, but eligibility is limited to CO2 storage in Dutch gas fields and the Dutch continental shelf. Only CCS for industrial purposes is eligible for the subsidy. There is as of yet no specific support for CCS-based CDR methods, though BECCS might be included in upcoming years. Starting in 2035, no new CCS support will be granted.
Other schemes include the Demonstration Energy and Climate Innovation (DEI+) scheme, for which CCUS projects are eligible only for pilot project funding. Furthermore, temporary or permanent CO2 storage on land is not eligible. The Environmental Investment Deduction (MIA) and the Random Depreciation of Environmental Investments (Vamil) are two schemes providing investment support for CCUS projects. The Top Sector Energy Scheme (TSE) provides subsidies for pilot and demonstration projects. The Energy Investment Deduction (IEA) scheme provides tax deductions for CO2 capture for permanent storage.
In terms of research and development, an Integrated Knowledge and Innovation Agenda has been developed to provide a long-term vision for related research priorities. CDR is mentioned several times as a means of achieving negative emissions.
The draft updated NECP identifies 13 key research streams, some of which are related to CDR, including CCS development, soil carbon sequestration and seaweed cultivation to sequester CO2. Finally, the University of Twente has a dedicated research stream on negative emission technologies, with six different research programmes.
On the horizon
- National elections will take place on 22 November, 2023.
- The House of Representatives asked the government to develop a CDR roadmap. It will likely be taken over by the new government. The results of the Carbon Removal Conference organised by Sinkit will be used as input for the roadmap.
- In terms of the potential of different CDR methods in the Netherlands, biochar-based solutions are expected to play only a small role, due to the highly optimised usage of biomass waste streams. The biggest potential lies for BECCS, mostly from the waste incineration sector. Retrofitting coal energy plants to biomass combined with CCS could also play a role, although the availability of biomass would need to be assessed.
- Net zero target: 2050
- Net Negative Target:
- First interim target: 2030
- Type of interim target: Emissions reduction target
- GHGs covered: Carbon dioxide and other GHGs
- Separate target for emission reduction and removals: No
- Comprehensive CDR Target: no
- CDR Target for Conventional Removals: yes
- CDR Target for Novel Removals: no
- Historical emissions: No
- Annual reporting mechanism: Annual reporting
- Plans for carbon removal (CDR): Yes (nature-based and CCS-based removals)
- Planning to use external carbon credits: Yes
- Conditions on use of carbon credits: a
- Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy – Ministry mainly responsible for the Dutch economic and innovation policy. It also oversees climate policy, as well as circular economy and renewable energy.
- The Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) – Part of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy. It provides various subsidies to national CCUS projects.
- Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality – The Ministry’s main aim is to ensure the Dutch agricultural sector retains its leading international position. It is also in charge of restoring and maintaining natural areas.
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Ministry responsible for Dutch foreign policy, which includes innovation and overseeing European grants.
- Dutch Emissions Authority – Independent national authority in charge of implementing and supervising market instruments that contribute to a climate-neutral society. Within its remit is the responsibility to collect the CO2 Tax.
- University of Twente – One of the four technical universities in the Netherlands and has a dedicated research stream on negative emissions technologies.
- The Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL) – National research institute for strategic policy analysis related to environment, nature and spatial planning. It is part of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management.
- CATO – Research consortium bringing both Dutch and international stakeholders on CCS research.
Think Tanks and NGOs
- Natuur en Milieu – A Dutch NGO leading environmental action nationally. It focuses on several themes, including clean industry and sustainable agriculture.
- Milieudefensie – A Dutch NGO leading environmental action nationally. It also advances crucial social considerations such as climate justice.
- The Dutch Urgenda Foundation – Foundation working for a fast transition towards a sustainable society.