NL: Cabinet seeks funding from greenhouse horticulture

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A further 22.4% increase in the energy tax rate on gas starting from 2025. That’s one of the plans the outgoing government has announced in the Spring Memorandum 2024.

With this measure, which is set to apply to users starting from 170,000 cubic meters of natural gas, the rates in the third, fourth, and fifth tiers for natural gas in the energy tax will be increased by 22.4% by 2025. To also achieve structural coverage, the rates will be raised by an additional 2.7% in 2030.

The money raised from this is intended to cover a gap created by the abolition of the net metering scheme for solar panels and the abolition of energy tax for heavy industry, as explained by the cabinet.

The Spring Memorandum outlines the state of the government’s income and expenditure. It checks if this still aligns with what the ministries agreed upon in this year’s national budget. Additionally, the government provides a preview of the plans for next year.

The abolition of the net metering scheme and the abolition of energy tax for heavy industry followed after intervention by the Senate. This will cost the state half a billion euros in 2025 and almost a billion structurally.

For the coverage of these setbacks, the cabinet in the Spring Memorandum has agreed on what it calls ‘a technical implementation’, including a higher energy tax for the higher tiers and also a reduction in the SME profit exemption. The cabinet is coming to collect money from greenhouse horticulture, part 2, as you could, say just like after the announcement of the Prinsjesdag plans last autumn.

It is now up to the House of Representatives and the Senate to agree or disagree with the plans of the still sitting cabinet. The new Hague plans follow shortly after a drastic package of tax measures came through in The Hague last year. These measures were weakened by the sector through lobbying, achieving a longer phase-out of the reduced rate for natural gas for horticulture.

Cash Cow
At Groenten & Fruit, Alexander Formsma, energy specialist at Glastuinbouw Nederland, already expressed outrage about the latest plans from the Spring Memorandum, which according to him would cost the sector an extra 20 million annually and especially hit the companies dependent on a boiler the hardest. “This has nothing to do with CO2 reduction anymore. The government continues to use the energy tax as a cash cow.”

In a letter to parliament accompanying the plans, outgoing Minister Jetten of Climate and Energy explains how he intends to advance the climate with the plans. For the greenhouse horticulture sector, a rollout of the European Emission Trading System ETS2 is something the cabinet is considering. So far, only a few large greenhouse horticulture companies fall under the ETS. The outgoing cabinet is leaving the decision on the rollout of ETS2 across the sector to a new cabinet.

As far as Glastuinbouw Nederland is concerned, the cabinet should stick to the covenant made with the sector, and no additional instruments are needed to reduce the sector’s CO2 emissions.

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