Challenging the Path Dependence of Dominant Energy Systems
Edited by William M. Lafferty and Audun Ruud
Chapter 2: The Netherlands: Muddling Through in the Dutch Delta
Maarten J. Arentsen INTRODUCTION The Dutch thermal-based electricity system is still a patent example of a ‘central-station’ electricity system developed by Thomas Edison and his successors during the 1920s. It consists of relatively homogeneous, large power plants interconnected by a system of high- and low-voltage cables transmitting the (transformed) electricity directly to consumers. In the last 20 years, however, two developments have changed the proﬁle of the system. First, electricity production and consumption have been associated with a steadily growing focus on sustainable development. Second, liberalization, deregulation and privatization have transformed the organization and outlook of the electricity system. Both developments are a function of political objectives. Sustainable development added a new dimension in the form of environmental concerns, and paved the way for the emergence of renewable energy sources. Parallel to this liberalization of the electricity market have followed EU initiatives to harmonize the European energy market. The Dutch electricity market is now fully liberalized and renewables are part of the resource portfolio of electricity production. ‘Cost-eﬀective’, ‘clean’ and ‘reliable’ are all terms applied to the major goals of today’s national electricity policy, with an open price-based electricity market and continued oﬃcial support for renewables as major instruments. Although the share is still modest, renewable energy sources for electricity (RES-E) are considered a necessary part of the national electricity resource portfolio. The current chapter tells the story of RES-E implementation in the Netherlands. In the following sections we shall: (1) sketch the transition of the dominant...
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