CCS in the Netherlands

CCS in the Netherlands


True to its name, the Netherlands (literally, the "Low Country") is situated, on average, less than a meter above sea level.  About a fifth of its population, in fact – over 3 million people spread across 20% of the country – live below sea level.

With so much low-lying coastal land, theNetherlands has a long history of defending itself from flooding, going back to the first dykes built over a thousand years ago.  Even so, the Netherlands remains highly vulnerable to rising sea levels, peak rainfalls and river discharges; and ranks with such countries as Bangladesh, Guyana and many Pacific Island nations as most likely to suffer from the consequences of climate change.

It is not surprising that the Netherlands has shown a strong commitment to tackling climate issues on a global scale – including a solid support for CCS. 

The Netherlands is a member of the EU, and a signatory to both the Kyoto Protocol and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).  The country hosts a number of full-scale CCS demonstration projects, at various stages of development, and a handful of R&D activities targeting either capture, transport or storage. The biggest projects are the Green Hydrogen plant, which in May 2011 applied for funding under the NER300 program, and the ROAD project, which has received €180 million from the European Union and received €150 million from the Dutch Government.

Emissions profile

The Netherlands has committed to reducing its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 20 per cent from 1990 levels by 2020.  As of April 2012, however, the Netherlands had reduced its GHG emissions by 8 per cent.

The generation of electricity and heat produced the greatest emissions of CO2 for the country, responsible for 32% of the region’s emissions in 2008, while manufacturing industries and construction were responsible for 21%.  In terms of fuel share, according to IEA data from 2008, coal was responsible for nearly 25% of the Netherlands’s electricity generation, while gas contributed nearly 60%.

CO2 emissions by sector (source: IEA 2008 data)

electricity generation by fuel (source: IEA)

CO2 storage capacity

The Netherlands has ample capacity for storing CO2, with one estimate suggesting a total storage capacity of 11.3 Gt in depleted gas and oil fields, aquifers and deep coal mines.  In February 2011, however, the government announced it will only permit CCS projects for offshore storage. 

A study conducted by TNO Built Environment and Geosciences (TNO) – and supported by the Global CCS Institute – concluded that the Dutch North Sea has the potential to store about 800 Mt. of CO2.  The estimate does not include the approximately 1.5 Gt. of potential capacity identified in saline formations, which are as yet unproven.

Policy environment

As a Member State, the Netherlands energy and climate policy is directed by EU policies, however, the Netherlands have taken a comprehensive approach to CCS. In September 2011 the Mining Act, the Environmental Management Act and subordinate legislation were amended in order to transpose the CCS-Directive (2009/31/EC) and the OSPAR Decision 2007/2. Furthermore, the government has set energy and climate targets over and above the targets set by the EC. The targets are 2% per year energy savings, 20% renewable energy by 2020 and 20% GHG reduction by 2020.

Under the Kyoto Protocol, the Netherlands can purchase credits and emissions rights within the Emissions Trading System (ETS), the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and the Joint Implementation (JI).

The government has already provided a large amount of funding to R&D in CCS and has provided €150 million to the ROAD CCS demonstration project. During the third phase of their CCS roadmap, which runs from 2015 to 2020, the government will provide support for other large-scale demonstration projects, while phase four will involve commercial use of CCS and a review of the CCS Directive.

The actual deployment of CCS projects in the Netherlands has encountered some difficulties.  One project in Barendrecht was cancelled in 2010 due to local resistance (see “What Happened in Barendrecht?”). Another two demonstration projects have been delayed or cancelled.

Still, the Netherlands is making significant progress in CCS.  The government’s CATO-2 program, a national R&D program for CCS, involves a consortium of nearly 40 partners working to make CCS a reality in the region.

Other CCS-related programs in the Netherlands:

Members and key organisations

The Institute has about a dozen Netherlands-based members, representing a cross section of government, research and industry. Members include:

Government and Research

  • The Government ofNetherlands
  • RotterdamClimate Initiative
  • Energy Research Centre of theNetherlands(ECN)
  • Deltalinqs
  • EnergyValleyFoundation


  • Emerson Process Management Flow B.V.
  • Ecofys Netherlands BV
  • Jacobs Consultancy
  • TNO Consultancy
  • Anthony VederGroupNV

Global CCS activities in the Netherlands

The ROAD project has received AUD$5 million in support from the Institute GCCSI to contribute to the international development of knowledge, experience and information on CCS. They have produced a number of special reports to further knowledge sharing.