Dutch vote 'setback' to green energy plan: Greenpeace
Environmental group Greenpeace said Wednesday that the Netherlands' carefully-laid plans to cut greenhouse emissions received a blow after opposition parties blocked legislation that included building new offshore wind turbines.
Seven opposition parties prevailed with a single vote against the proposed law late Tuesday in the upper house of the Dutch parliament, in what government and environmental groups in rare agreement referred to as political point scoring.
The proposed Gas and Electricity Law is part of the 2013 so-called "Energy Accord" agreement struck between government, business, unions, environmental and social groups aimed at developing sustainable energy and slashing greenhouse gasses in the Netherlands.
Carefully negotiated between some 40 organisations, the Energy Accord will see the Netherlands produce at least 14 percent of its energy by sustainable methods by 2020, including through "wind parks" containing hundreds of wind turbines in the North Sea.
Adoption of the Gas and Energy Law was necessary for energy providers to receive approval to build more wind turbines offshore.
Opposition parties said Tuesday they were not against more turbines, but objected to another part of the law that would have forced the last two remaining Dutch energy companies Eneco and Delta to split their power generation and network operations.
The move would lead to job losses and raise the risk of hostile takeovers, opposition parties said.
But environmental groups and the government said the move was a cynical attempt at political point-scoring.
"Tuesday night's vote is not against the building of more wind turbines. It's about politics and the splitting within the two energy companies," said Greenpeace spokesman Erik Suik.
"It (the vote) certainly is a setback against Dutch plans to move to sustainable energy," he told AFP.
"We call on Economics Minister (Henk) Kamp to start as quickly as possible to separate the two issues, so that the building of wind turbines can get underway," Suik added.
There are currently some 2,186 wind turbines in the Netherlands but only 139 are offshore in the North Sea in three wind parks, according to the Windstats.nl website.
Leaders from 195 nations including the Netherlands earlier this month approved a historic pact in Paris to roll back climate change including by moving to green energy.
© 2015 AFP