Report describes changes to Dutch government’s policy on biomass

By Erin Voegele | May 10, 2022

The government of the Netherlands in late April signaled its intent to support the use of biomass for certain high-value applications, including the production of some biofuels and high-temperature heat, but phase out support for lower value uses.

The new policy on biomass is discussed in a report filed with the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service’s Global Agricultural Information Network on April 29.

According to the report, Dutch Minster for Climate and Energy Rob Jetten on April 22 sent a letter to the Dutch Parliament outlining the Dutch government’s policy for the application of biomass. He indicated that the Cabinet will support the application of biomass for high-value applications, uses which have no renewable alternative, and applications by which carbon is stored. Support for low-value purposes, such as the production of biopower and low temperature heat will be phased out. The letter follows an agreement reached by the newly formed Dutch coalition government in December 2021 in which the coalition of political parties expressed their intent to phase out the use of wood biomass for energy purposes and only allow the use of woody biomass produced in the EU to monitor compliance with sustainability criteria.

In his letter, Jetten stresses that the Dutch Cabinet expects biomass to play an important role in meeting the country’s climate and circular economy goals. He said the Cabinet supports the use of biomass to produce biobased chemicals, plastics, and materials replacing fossil feedstocks. It also supports the use of biomass to produce advanced biofuels for marine, aviation and heavy road transport applications, along with applications for generating high-temperature heat of more than 100 degrees Celsius and for the production of materials that store carbon, such as construction materials.

The letter also addresses Dutch sustainability criteria, noting it will be largely based on the EU Renewable Energy Directive. The Cabinet will also advocate to include socio-economic criteria and the obligation to report carbon dioxide emissions emitted through the production and transport of biomass.

In addition, Jetten confirms that the Cabinet will not limit the sourcing of biomass to EU sources, as it has concluded that such a decision can only be made at the EU level. He also notes that discriminatory sourcing is not compliant with World Trade Organization rules.

A full copy of the report can be downloaded from the USDA FAS GAIN website.