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Renewable energy use rises in the Netherlands

The proportion of total energy used in the Netherlands coming from renewable sources rose from 3,8% in 2010 to 4,2% in 2011, due to both an increase in renewable energy consumption and a decrease in total energy consumption, according to Statistics Netherlands.

Total renewable energy consumption increased from 86 to 93 petajoules (10^15 joules). Renewable energy is used in the form of electricity, heat, and biofuels for transport vehicles. Electricity (mainly generated from wind energy and biomass) remains the most important application, accounting for 45% of renewable energy consumption, with heat following at 40% and transport biofuels accounting for just 15% of total consumption. However, the use of biofuels for transport grew by one third from 2010 to 2011.

Total energy consumption decreased by 5% from 2010 to 2011. However, this decrease is mainly due to a reduction in heat used for energy on account of the mild weather conditions this past winter, rather than to improved efficiency.

The outside temperature has far more impact on total energy consumption than on renewable energy consumption, because the use of renewable heat sources to meet excess energy needs when the weather is cold is limited. Renewable heat derives mostly from wood consumed by households in fireplaces and heat used in industrial processes.

Biomass is by far the largest source of renewable energy, accounting for 75% of renewable energy consumption, while wind energy contributes nearly 20% and the rest comes from sunlight, water, geothermal sources and aerothermal heat. Biomass is mainly converted to electricity and heat in waste incineration plants, and as a result of capacity expansion, these installations produced approximately 20% more energy in 2011.

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Carly Blair

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