30 May 2024

Beyond Fossil Fuels stands with local people opposing ENGIE’s fossil gas plant project in Nijmegen

NIJMEGEN, 30 MAY, 2024 – The Beyond Fossil Fuels coalition is in solidarity with the local people and environmental activists that are preparing to gather in Nijmegen this Saturday 1 June to oppose ENGIE’s plan to build a new 500 MW fossil gas plant on the site of its former coal plant. ENGIE’s pursuit of the project does not make sense for the following reasons:

Local opposition to the project

The plan to build a new gas plant is facing opposition by local citizens. Ignoring the views of those who are voicing their concerns will lead to resistance, delays, and increased costs.

Contradicting climate goals and timelines

Engie has given no guarantees that this new fossil gas plant would stop burning fossil gas by 2035 by either retiring it or converting it to run on green hydrogen. The proposed plant’s lifespan could extend to 2045 [1], contradicting the urgent need for a fossil-free, renewables-based power system by 2035. The Netherlands has committed to this goal [2]. Building a new fossil gas plant without commitments to stop burning fossil gas by that date directly contradicts this commitment.

Undermining progress on renewables

The Netherlands is transitioning to a renewables-based power system. Wind and solar are soaring [3], the Netherlands is on track to exit coal by 2029 [4], and gas will be next. Investments should focus on expanding renewables-based technologies: solar, wind, heat pumps and battery storage, as well as grids. A new fossil gas plant could undermine this progress, particularly because the Netherlands has no plant-by-plant roadmap to guide the closure of its gas fleet.

“Hydrogen readiness” is a red herring 

ENGIE claims the plant’s “hydrogen-readiness” justifies its construction. However, for the purposes of producing power, hydrogen constitutes an expensive and inefficient gamble compared to proven renewable technologies like solar, wind and heat pumps. Plus, there is a high risk that the plant will not operate solely on green hydrogen. 

Reputational risk for ENGIE

ENGIE’s plan is in direct contradiction with its ambitious renewables strategy and is likely to raise concerns among investors about the credibility of the company’s climate commitments.

Brigitte Alarcon, campaigner at Beyond Fossil Fuels, said:
“ENGIE’s plan to build a 500 MW fossil gas plant in Nijmegen disregards local opposition, contradicts Dutch climate goals, undermines progress on renewables, and calls into question ENGIE’s commitments. We stand in solidarity with those peacefully mobilising to oppose this plan and urge ENGIE to reconsider the project, developing instead a comprehensive strategy to cease burning fossil gas by 2035 and focus its investments on supporting the transition to a fully renewables-based European power system by 2035.”

END

  1. https://reclaimfinance.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2024/04/ReclaimFinance_ENGIE_Road-to-non-decarbonized-power_April-2024.pdf
  2. https://beyondfossilfuels.org/government-2035-commitment-tracker/
  3. https://www.iea.org/countries/the-netherlands/electricity
  4. https://beyondfossilfuels.org/europes-coal-exit/
  5. Details of the “No Gas Plant” action, to be held in Nijmegen, Saturday 1 June: https://extinctionrebellion.nl/events/geen-gascentrale/

Contacts

Julia Pazos, Communications Officer, Beyond Fossil Fuels
[email protected], +1 310 994 9692

Brigitte Alarcon, campaigner, Beyond Fossil Fuels
[email protected], +33 641 288 759

About

Beyond Fossil Fuels is a collective civil society campaign committed to ensuring all of Europe’s electricity is generated from fossil-free, renewable energy by 2035. It expands and builds upon the Europe Beyond Coal campaign, and its goal of a coal-free Europe in power and heat by 2030 at the latest. www.beyondfossilfuels.org

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