Following a SOMO report on the sustainability of energy purchased by municipalities, a Greenpeace campaign called on residents to start petitions requesting that their own municipalities transition to truly green energy. Six months after the report appeared, 52 municipalities have so far agreed to switch to green energy. That’s an outstanding result and more are likely to follow.
In May 2016, SOMO published a report on research carried out for Greenpeace on how much energy Dutch municipalities actually use, where the 390 municipalities purchase their energy and how this is being made ‘greener’. Dutch municipalities are responsible for street lighting and for energy use in the buildings they manage. This makes them collectively a large consumer of energy, and their purchasing power can thus influence the market.
Only 1 in 3 municipalities purchases sustainable electricity
Contrary to agreements in the Klimaatakkoord Gemeenten en Rijk 2007-2011 (a climate agreement between Dutch municipalities and the national government), it appeared that many Dutch municipalities do not purchase energy from sustainable suppliers nor do they make their energy ‘greener’ by using certificates which stimulate the production of renewable energy. Of the 302 municipalities that took part in the research study, only one-third purchased truly green energy.
Gelderland chooses green energy on a large scale
A great number of municipalities in the Dutch province of Gelderland are choosing green energy. All the municipalities in Gelderland, with the exception of Renkum and Rozendaal, are now using or will soon be using truly sustainable energy. In the Arnhem-Nijmegen region, 16 municipalities plan to collectively purchase sustainable electricity starting in 2018. The goal is to ultimately produce sustainable energy in the region, such as through means of wind turbines in the future. These would directly stimulate the production of green energy and contribute to the energy agreement objectives. This pledge changes Arnhem’s energy classification from red to green! Municipalities in the provinces of Flevoland and Utrecht are also well on their way to purchasing sustainable electricity.
Big steps taken by big municipalities
In addition to Arnhem and Nijmegen, the cities of The Hague, Leiden, Hilversum and Gouda have declared their choice for green energy in their next contract period. Municipalities that formerly purchased energy from companies which mainly generated power with the use of coal-fired plants, are now transitioning to green energy.
Friesland and Drenthe lag behind
The provinces of Friesland and Drenthe are lagging behind. Since the report’s publication, only the municipality of Meppel has switched to sustainable Dutch energy. Amsterdam and Rotterdam lag behind the rest of the big cities. These municipalities purchase good-quality green energy certificates, but still mainly use energy generated with the use of coal-fired plants.
What can you do?
Ask your municipality to switch to an authentic clean energy provider: www.petitiestarter.nl (only in Dutch).