On the liberalised market for electricity clean energy has a special position.
Clean energy is the generic term for renewable energy produced from wind, water, solar, but also from biomass and biogas. In The Netherlands the production and trade in clean energy is regulated by Guarantees of Origin. Each Guarantee of Origin corresponds with a certain amount of electricity produced by renewable energy. Guarantees of Origin are registered and expended by TenneT, the national System Operator and operator of the national high voltage grid. CertiQ manages the actual registration and accounting of Guarantees of Origin on behalf of TenneT.
The energy produced by a wind turbine and supplied to the grid has a certain value. This value comprises the market value of power, the Guarantees of Origin and the applicable financial support by the Dutch government.
The market value of power is determined by bilateral long term power off take and purchase agreements and by the price at the Amsterdam Power Exchange (APX). Power produced by wind turbines has to compete on these markets with power produced in conventional (gas or coal driven) power plants, nuclear power plants, cogeneration plants, and bio-energy, hydropower and imported power.
Because the European or Dutch market for Guarantees of Origin is practically non existent the value of Guarantees of Origin is of limited importance for the determination of the overall value of power produced by wind turbines.
The applicable governmental support system depends on many factors. Since 2008 the “Besluit Stimulering Duurzame Energieproductie” (SDE) is applicable for newly commissioned wind turbines.
The SDE is a tariff per kWh for each kWh produced by wind turbines and supplied to the grid. The SDE is granted for a period of 15 years and for a limited amount of kWh per year. However the actual SDE tariff in any given year will depend on the actual market price of power in that same year. The Dutch government subsidizes the production of sustainable renewable energy to reduce the emission of greenhouse gasses (CO2 and NOx).
In The Netherlands the social cost of power production from coal driven plants is estimated at Euro 30 – 40 per MWh and for gas driven plants at Euro 10 – 20 per MWh. A British study determined the cost for dismantling all British nuclear power plants at Euro 23 per MWh for all MWh produced by these power plants during their operation.
The governmental support for the production of renewable energy can be regarded as a compensation of the avoided social cost. According to a study by Energieonderzoek Centrum Nederland and KEMA (2006) the avoided social cost of wind energy is Euro 20 per MWh.
Each MWh produced by a wind turbine during its operational life avoids these social costs. In comparison the SDE support is only granted for a period of 15 years and for a limited amount of MWh per year.