January 17, 2023
a chair. We just experienced the hottest summer in Europe on record. In the middle of winter the Alps turn green instead of white. After the failure of Egypt’s climate summit, another big man from a fossil corporation is lining up to lead the next climate conference. Meanwhile, scientists warn that the Earth could exceed its 1.5°C warming limit as early as next year. Our future is simply at stake. Our children’s future is at stake.
Today, however, the Cabinet wants to talk about the phasing out of a very successful net metering system for sustainable and self-generated electricity from solar panels. And as far as the Animal Party is concerned, this makes it painfully clear that the priorities here are not in order. This government is now after the small consumer, while the big ones continue to stay out of the way.
There is no plan yet to eliminate subsidies for fossil materials. Why not now discuss the bounties of polluting industry that lead to overstimulation of fossil energy? Billions are being funneled to companies that have lied about the climate crisis for decades. They still make huge profits. Glasgow’s pledge to stop export credit insurance for fossil projects has been broken, and it is now easy to blame grid overload on well-meaning citizens using solar panels, when there is hardly any fuss about energy-hungry data centres.
a chair. The net metering scheme works: The Netherlands is the champion of solar panels. They make a good contribution to sustainable energy supply. Not all roofs are filled in yet and many people still want solar panels, not only homeowners, which are already largely catered for, but also renters, landlords in landlords associations and non-SDE eligible small businesses and associations. So we must continue to promote solar panels. This is why the Animal Party argues in favor of retaining the net metering system, because we know it works. The coalition now pretends that phasing out this scheme is necessary to redistribute benefits from the rich to the poor, but phasing out does not automatically lead to a more equitable situation. It just excludes more families from the energy transition. Moreover, there is absolutely no guarantee that energy companies will translate their additional income into cheaper energy for consumers, as colleague Lichten has just argued.
a chair. Sustainable behavior should pay off, not just for high-income homeowners, but for everyone. The government should ensure that solar panels are accessible to everyone, rather than creating an additional barrier for Dutch people of good will who can and want to become more sustainable. Instead, make sure that low-income people get solar panels on their roof and benefit from it immediately with a low energy bill. People in rented homes in particular do not currently have solar power and housing associations are just joining in on rolling out solar on their roofs, but they are no longer sure about these investments because of the government’s proposal. We are also now getting letters from tenants who are concerned and wondering if they will soon have a higher energy bill than the lower bill they were promised. The study, which was conducted based on the advice of the State Council, showed that the proposal of the Council of Ministers worsens the business situation related to solar panels for residential associations. Soon all high income homeowners will benefit from the scheme and people will be missing out on social rent homes.
a chair. This also applies to homeowners with little financial space. What is the use of a payback period of seven, eight or nine years? What is the benefit of a 4% return? Just stop with this investor language! These people will not arrive until the end of the month. What will the government do to make it easier for this group in particular to buy solar panels? Because these people are now being hit hard by the energy crisis. For a successful climate policy, it is important that the energy transition be just and inclusive. The Animal Party does not see this reflected in the bill.