In 2020, net electricity production in the Netherlands was 1.3 billion kWh higher than in 2019, reaching the highest level ever measured. Renewable electricity production rose by 9.2 billion kWh, while electricity generation from coal declined by 9.7 billion kWh. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this based on newly released figures.
Net electricity production is closely linked to domestic and foreign demand for electricity. In 2020, consumption in the Netherlands was down by 2.2 billion kWh on the previous year, partly due to the impact of COVID-19 measures. It was particularly lower in the first and second quarter of 2020. Consumption recovered slightly in Q3 and Q4, but it was still lower than in the same quarters of 2019. Imports over the entire year declined by 0.6 billion kWh, while exports rose by 2.9 billion kWh.
According to CBS, renewable electricity skyrocketed in 2020, while production from coal halved.
In 2020, most electricity was again produced from natural gas. As the Netherlands has relatively many natural gas-fired power stations, full advantage was taken of favorable market conditions for this type of electricity generation in 2020. Production from natural gas rose by 1.7 billion kWh to a total of 70.8 billion kWh.
Renewable electricity generation increased explosively by 9.2 billion kWh, representing a rise of more than 40 percent. Over one-quarter of electricity production is from renewable sources (solar, wind, water and biomass). The capacity for electricity generation from wind and solar has increased, partly due to the commissioning of a large offshore wind farm and continued growth in the number of solar panels in the Netherlands.
Electricity production by coal-fired power plants fell by 9.7 billion kWh. It was halved compared to 2019, due to technical problems and higher coal and carbon prices.
Exports from the Netherlands also hit record level in 2020.
Last year, electricity exports amounted to 22.4 billion kWh, the highest total measured over a period of one year since 1976. Imports declined by 0.6 billion kWh to 19.8 billion kWh. This resulted in positive net exports of 2.7 billion kWh. The Netherlands is generally a net importer of electricity. The last time electricity exports exceeded imports over a full year was in 1981. The balance at that time stood at 97 million kWh.
In 2020, imports from Germany decreased by 3.5 billion kWh, while exports to this country increased by 4.3 billion kWh. Production by German coal plants was down on one year previously, due to the relatively high carbon prices. The Netherlands has relatively many gas plants, which realized higher production levels due to a relatively low gas price and relatively lower CO2 emissions per kWh produced. Exports to Belgium increased by 0.8 billion kWh, while imports from this country decreased by 0.7 billion kWh, due to production interruptions at nuclear power plants. Electricity imports from Denmark and Norway exceeded exports to these two countries.