Substantial European funding for Northern Netherlands energy ambitions

Published on in International Network


The Northern Netherlands wants to further expand its role as an exemplary region in the field of energy. To this end, the region has ambitious plans ready, giving direction to the Dutch and European future of hydrogen, the greening of industry and the adjacing labour market transition. The Northern region aims to allocate hundreds of millions of Euro’s from the European Just Transition Fund (JTF) for this purpose and calls on the government to accomodate.

The Northern Netherlands is the area for investments from the JTF to tackle the socio-economic consequences of the energy transition. This is also necessary in view of the major consequences of the rapid decline in gas production in Groningen and the subsequent loss of 20,000 jobs throughout the region. Both the European Commission and the Dutch parliament have declared themselves in favour of Groningen and the Northern Netherlands as the main objective of the funds in the Netherlands.

The Northern Netherlands has drawn up ambitious plans that can start immediately. The plans focus on three goals: achieving the energy transition, an agile labour market and creating a new economic perspective for the region. Examples of related projects are: the Investment Agenda Hydrogen North Netherlands, Drenthe 4.0 (including GZI-Next in Emmen), the Training Alliance North and Wetsus in Leeuwarden.


Dutch government is up next

For the realization of the plans, the Northern region depends on the Dutch governement, which has yet to determine where and how the JTF will be deployed in the Netherlands. The provinces of Groningen, Friesland and Drenthe and the cities of Groningen, Leeuwarden, Assen and Emmen jointly call on the Cabinet to no longer postpone the decision and start working with the Northern Netherlands.

The equitable deployment of JTF resources in the Northern Netherlands not only helps the region move forward economically, but also makes an important contribution to the innovation, climate and energy goals of the Dutch government and the European Union. Moving away from large-scale peat, oil and natural gas extraction, the Northern region now wants to become a large-scale hub for renewable and clean energy and future-oriented technology. Moreover, this offers plenty of opportunities for companies and knowledge partners outside the region to work together on the energy and labour market transition in the Northern Netherlands.

The Northern Netherlands is at the forefront of the energy transition. This is where knowledge, infrastructure and urgency come together. Government, education and entrepreneurs are working hand-in-hand for a new energy future. This region is the perfect testing ground for innovations. It is with good reason why the Northern Netherlands were appointed the first Hydrogen Valley in Europe.

In New Energy Coalition the committed parties and the focus come together: the recognition and support by the Dutch government and the EU motivate us even more. We are convinced that this major challenge can only be achieved through collaborations. Together with our partners we work for a new energy future every day!

- Marieke Abbink - CEO New Energy Coalition

Endorsing JTF funding for Northern Netherlands

As a result of the climate and energy transition, 20,000 jobs are at stake in the Northern Netherlands, according to the European Commission’s scientific office, the Joint Research Centre, recent calculations. As a result, the region faces an enormous challenge in the coming years, which is of an entirely different prepared to other regions in the Netherlands due to a scarce economic context. Earlier this year, the European Commission therefore identified Groningen as a so-called focus region for the JTF fund.

Before the summer recess, the Dutch House of Representatives also expressed its support for the North as a suitable recipient of JTF funds in a widely accepted motion. The authors of the motion, Agnes Mulder (CDA) and Carla Dik-Faber (ChristenUnie), point to the ambitions and potential of the Northern Netherlands in the field of green hydrogen, for example. “The aim is to take hydrogen production, transport and use to a higher level. This is economically important for the Dutch Northern region. With the cessation of gas production, 20,000 jobs will be lost there. There are more regions with ambitions, I know that, but the bulk has to go to the Northern Netherlands,” Agnes Mulder said.

Fund for equitable energy transition

The JTF is part of the European Commission’s Green Deal. The fund is intended for regions that are economically dependent on income and employment from the fossil fuel industry and will be hit heavily by the energy and climate transition in the coming years. The agreement reached by the European Council on 21 July provides for the mobilisation of €10 billion from the Recovery Fund (until 2024) and a further €7.5 billion from the European multi-annual budget (until 2027).

The exact amount of funding for the Netherlands is still unclear, because the European Parliament has not yet approved the proposed agreement of the Heads of Government. What is clear, however, is that the European Parliament is striving for a further increase in the Just Transition Fund. For the Netherlands and its northern region, this involves hundreds of millions of euros. The JTF plan must be launched within the Member States by 2021.