According to the Energy Agreement signed by member states of the European Union (EU), by 2020, all countries should meet 20% of its energy needs from renewable sources.

Following this agreement, the Ministry of Economy of the Netherlands presented the Plan of Sustainable Energy Production Incentive (SDE) in order to consume by that time 14% of the natural resource from renewable sources, and 16% in 2023. However, the Dutch Audit says that "it is unlikely that these objectives will be met."

The Netherlands aims to achieve 100% sustainable energy supply by 2050. But what does this type of energy mean? It is one that is obtained through virtually inexhaustible natural sources, such as wind, geothermal, hydro, tidal, solar, biomass and biofuels.

These can be used to supply electricity, heating and transportation, among other issues.

The goals seem to be somewhat ambitious considering that in 2013, only "4.5% of the energy was sustainable." Given this situation, the Watchdog said: "The Netherlands has a long way to go in terms of meeting its objectives."

Both the "budget" as well as the "subsidies" the Ministry of Economic Affairs has "is not sufficient to achieve the objectives of the 2020 and 2023." In this scenario we add that the Plan of Sustainable Energy Production Incentive suffers "delays and setbacks."

According to sources in various studies, the "proportion of renewable energy by 2020 is likely to be 12.4%" -instead of 14% as agreed with the EU; and 15.1% in 2023- instead of 16%.

Possible Solutions

To achieve the goals set in the BDS, the Ministry of Economic Affairs "would have to provide an additional 12.8 billion euros in subsidies for offshore wind farms." That is, 22% more than expected in the current policy.

Another alternative is to extend the initiative abroad. It refers to "open the projects to other EU member states" to achieve the 20% of renewable energy production between countries.

For example, if the Netherlands were to consume 12.4% of sustainable energy by 2020 -as studies affirm- and Austria 7.6%, then it would consume the total (20%) agreed in the Energy Agreement.

However, this option would also require budget increases, but 3.5 billion less than stipulated for the first stage described.

The ultimate solution would choose to "introduce a new policy." Such as, energy savings could be "higher than expected then less energy from renewable sources would be needed to achieve the 2020 and 2023 objectives."

Audit Recommendations

The Dutch control body considers necessary "to select a realistic scenario in 2015 to ensure that the Netherlands achieve their goals of 2020 and 2023". This means include a "calendar and a breakdown of additional costs."

It is also recommended to "clarify each year to the House of Representatives on progress in the SDE" explaining "what kind of energy production is destined for the Plan."