Despite a cabinet decision and ruling by the Council of State, which annulled the environmental permit last summer for the planned biomass power plant in Diemen NL, officials helped the energy company Vattenfall with a biomass subsidy of 395 million, according to newly revealed correspondence.

The three Dutch environmental action groups, the Clean Air Committee (Comite Schone Lucht), Leefmilieu and MOB discovered through two ‘Public Government Act’-requests that the millions of government subsidies were re-allocated last year. The revealed documents show that the subsidies had been made secretly. The central government did not make this decision public. The correspondence between the minister and Vattenfall subsequently revealed that the subsidy awarded was unlawful.

Despite an immediate stop on all new biomass subsidies via a cabinet decision in April 2022, the mega amount was awarded a year later (March 2023). Under pressure from an international call initiated by the Clean Air Committee, Minister Jetten decided to stop subsidies for heating networks and greenhouse horticulture. The call was signed by more than 300,000 citizens. According to the Clean Air Committee, the new allocation is a new political error of unprecedented magnitude in the controversial biomass dossier.

The documents show that an official asks another official to omit the words “as was the intention of the subsidy freeze”. In addition, the correspondence between the officials and Vattenfall indicates that if this becomes known it will “cause hassle”. The civil servants therefore knew the intention of the motion of February 25, 2021 (Parliamentary majority for discontinuation of biomass subsidies) and the cabinet decision of April 22, 2022 (Immediate stop to all new biomass subsidies), but acted contrary to accommodate Vattenfall in order to still obtain the millions of government subsidies.

For this reason, the three environmental groups filed an appeal against the central government (LINK: Notice of Appeal) They request the minister to withdraw the new biomass subsidy of € 395 million so that the money becomes available for energy savings and real clean energy.

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