The Netherlands: how fast can the country go green?

The Dutch government has announced plans to ban fossil-fuel heating systems from 2026 and subsidise the use of heat pumps. The move also comes against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine and Europe's efforts to end its dependence on fossil energy from Russia. The national press doubts the transition can be implemented so swiftly.

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De Telegraaf (NL) /

Increase power grid capacity

In practice the switch to clean energy will not be so easy, De Telegraaf criticises:

“With solar panels, you can not only cover your own electricity needs, but also feed electricity into the grid yourself if the sun shines enough. ... At least that's the theory. But the reality is different. Because when the sun shines fully, the voltage in the electricity grid becomes too high in residential areas with an outdated infrastructure, and then the safety system switches off the solar collectors. ... How embarassing. If the state wants citizens to switch to green electricity, it must ensure that the power grid is up to the task.”

NRC Handelsblad (NL) /

Insulation is the top priority

NRC Handelsblad columnist Christiaan Weijts points to major gaps in the government's energy policy:

“[Hybrid heat pumps] reportedly only make sense in well-insulated buildings. ... Now a nationwide insulation programme supposedly exists, but its ceremonial launch has apparently taken place on the quiet. ... Landlords and housing associations may be obliged to insulate their flats. Single-pane glass? Cracks [in the insulating material]? Overdue renovations. Make sure it's fixed before winter or you'll end up with a huge energy bill. Only once the insulation is in order and the greatest energy poverty has been curbed can the next steps be tackled, such as installing heat pumps or solar boilers.”