As much as we would like to believe it, put away the party streamers for now. Vattenfall is actually saying: “Just go to sleep, we’ll not move on.” Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. All Vattenfall’s actions still points to the opposite. So stay awake. Be alert!

Read below the news as they appeared in press and media last week, including our response.

After weeks of radio silence, Vattenfall today released a statement about the annulment of the environmental permit for its planned Diemen biomass power plant and the obligation to draw up an environmental impact report. Vattenfall has indicated that it is pausing the development of a bioheat plant in Diemen.

“This is old wine in new bottles. This is a well-known trick from Vattenfall. Repetition of moves. We’ve seen this before in the last 4 years. After all the recent commotion surrounding the latest ruling by the Council of State and our objection against the subsidies, Vattenfall feels the pressure to make a ruling. So the company claims that they are pressing the pause button but really doesn’t cancel anything. 

In short, Vattenfall looks away and refers to politics. Politics also looks away and points to the province, which in turn also looks away and points to Vattenfall. No one takes responsibility and behind the scenes the industry continues. “So will our campaign and legal procedures.”

—Fenna Swart, chairman of the Clean Air Committee, about Vattenfall’s statement

In its statement, Vattenfall indicates that it will enter into discussions with the municipalities involved, the province of North Holland and outgoing Minister Jetten of Climate and Energy to jointly explore the possibilities of alternative sustainable heat sources and their timely development.

Biomass not renewable
In its statement, Vattenfall continues to persistently call biomass heat (the most affordable form of) sustainable heat. However, according to the Clean Air Committee, biomass heat is ‘expensive, not sustainable and not renewable. Biomass combustion emits more CO2 than coal. The emitted CO2 is only captured again after 50 to 100 years by newly planted trees. ‘Wood extraction through clear-cutting is disastrous for forests, biodiversity and air quality.’

Legal proceedings continue
Our long-standing campaign and current legal procedures will therefore continue unabated against this planned largest biomass power plant, says Fenna Swart. There is no support, not from society, nor from politics and science. Legal proceedings are still ongoing at the Council of State against the nature permit and we have filed an objection against the new SDE subsidy for the planned biomass power plant. This subsidy was incorrectly issued by Minister Jetten after the subsidy freeze (see link below for more information).

Read more:

18 September 2023

Vattenfall stops development of controversial biomass plant

De Telegraaf artikel van 18 september 2023: Vattenfall stopt ontwikkeling omstreden biomassacentrale

Now doubt seems to be creeping into Vattenfall itself. But Fenna Swart of the Clean Air Committee does not believe in a real turnaround. “They will do everything they can to push through this plant.” The alternatives that Vattenfall mentions are difficult to implement, according to Swart. “If they had really been interested in other heat sources, they would not have tried so hard to get a subsidy for biomass.”

Read more:

Vattenfall pauses development of biomass plant near Diemen

Allgemene Dagblad artikel van 18 oktober 2023:

Action group Clean Air Committee (CSL), which started in IJburg and has been fiercely opposed to biomass power stations for years, does not believe that the announced pause makes a big difference. Vattenfall has done that before, recalls Fenna Swart from CSL. “They press the pause button, but don’t cancel anything. Behind the scenes, the industry continues. So does our campaign and our legal procedures.”

Read more:

Vattenfall halts development of controversial Diemen biomass power plant and seeks ‘sustainable alternatives’

De Volkskrant artikel van 18 september 2023:

The Clean Air Committee, one of the parties that brought the case against Vattenfall, views Monday’s announcement with suspicion. “Vattenfall says that it has only pressed the pause button and has still not canceled the bioheating plant,” says spokesperson Fenna Swart. ‘We have heard this more than once over the past four years: we are taking a step back. We think they will continue until the bitter end, until construction is no longer possible.’ 

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Vattenfall ceases construction of biomass power plant near Diemen

NRC artikel van 18 september 2023: Vattenfall staakt bouw biomassacentrale bij Diemen

Biomass According to the Council of State, research must be conducted into the environmental effects of the biomass power plant. Vattenfall says it will probably take just as long to realize less controversial energy generation.

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Vattenfall looks for an alternative to a biomass plant in Muiden

Noordhollands Dagblad artikel van 18 september 2023: Vattenfall zoekt alternatief voor biomassacentrale in Muiden

Energy company Vattenfall is looking for another sustainable heat source near Diemen, on the border with Muiden, after the Council of State (Council of State) ruled that research into the environmental effects of a biomass power plant must be conducted. 

Read more:

Fenna Swart, Comité Schone Lucht. Thank you for your support

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