Jan 26, 2023 at 8:05 PMUpdate: 6 hours ago
The plan to phase out the net metering scheme for solar panels in the coming years cannot yet count on the support of GroenLinks and PvdA. The opposition parties first want to assess other cabinet plans on climate and sustainability. It caused irritation among the coalition parties and the minister during the parliamentary debate on Thursday.
The plan to phase out the net metering scheme has been on the table for years. It has already been postponed a number of times, but the cabinet wants to phase out the scheme from 2025.
From 2031, owners of solar panels may no longer offset the excess power they generate on sunny days against the power they purchase on grayer days. That’s called salting. Instead, a minimum compensation must be introduced.
The cabinet counted on support from GroenLinks and PvdA, because the scheme disadvantages households without solar panels. This is because energy companies pass on the costs they incur for netting to all customers. But during the first part of the debate, which took place last week, it appeared that the two left-wing parties do not intend to simply agree to the plan.
Without their support, the proposal will not receive a majority in the Senate. The other opposition parties are also against phasing out the scheme.
Jetten cannot convince GL and PvdA
The story of Minister Rob Jetten (Climate and Energy) also failed to convince the parties on Thursday. PvdA member Joris Thijssen and Suzanne Kröger (GL) first want to see concrete action from the cabinet in the field of climate policy and sustainability. They are concerned about the rental sector, where there are far fewer solar panels on roofs than in the owner-occupied sector. They also fear that the cabinet will not achieve the climate goals.
“I understand the concerns,” said Jetten about the rental sector lagging behind. In the coming period he will talk to housing corporations about what is needed to accelerate the installation of solar panels there. In addition, he and Minister Hugo de Jonge (Public Housing) will be making extra efforts to make the rental sector more sustainable in the coming period.
Thijssen and Kröger do not consider the minister’s efforts sufficient. They want to make sure that people in the rental sector and in energy poverty are helped. The two MPs would also like to see the cabinet set a target for solar panels on the roof, for example a percentage. “How much solar energy do we want? And will we reach that target if we abolish the net metering scheme?” asked Kröger.
The demand came as an unpleasant surprise to Jetten, who was visibly annoyed. The government has set a goal of a climate-neutral energy supply by 2050. ‘Sun on the roof’ has been part of this for years, Jetten emphasized. The minister also said that the cabinet also wants to ensure that people receive a lower and more predictable energy bill, but that it can also achieve this goal through insulation.
Coalition accuses GL and PvdA of ‘scoreboard politics’
GroenLinks and PvdA also want to await the cabinet’s extra climate plans, so that they can view the “whole picture in context”. “If that is bright green and bright red, we support the abolition of the net metering scheme, otherwise not,” says Kröger.
Her attitude and that of Thijssen led to great irritation in the coalition. “Scoreboard politics”, Silvio Erkens (VVD) called it. Henri Bontenbal (CDA) spoke of “an occasional argument because elections are coming up”. The coalition parties think it is a bad thing that GL and PvdA allow the phasing out of the net metering scheme to depend on policy in other areas.
Minimum compensation instead of netting
Although the debate was politically tough, on Thursday it was also about the technical side of the bill that regulates the phasing out of the net metering scheme.
One of the main issues is how much money solar panel owners get back for the excess power they feed back. The cabinet proposes to set a minimum reimbursement of 80 percent of the basic rate.
This means the following: if you, as a consumer, have a rate of 0.25 euro cents in your contract, you will receive 0.20 euro cents for the electricity you supply back. With this, the cabinet wants to prevent solar panel owners from receiving little or no money on very sunny days.
In this way, according to the cabinet, it remains attractive to invest in solar panels. It must always be possible to recoup the investment within seven to nine years, Jetten emphasized.
Suzanne Kröger (GroenLinks) and Joris Thijssen (PvdA) during the debate on the net metering scheme. Photo: ANP
Read more about:
ClimatePoliticsSolar panelsSustainable energy
Leave a Reply