As announced on Prinsjesdag, the Dutch Budget Day, the outgoing Dutch government wants to phase out the reduced tax rate on natural gas and tighten the CHP input exemption. Also, a CO2 levy will be introduced. The aim of all this is to encourage the sector to become more sustainable. However, branch organisation Glastuinbouw Nederland fears that this will slash the number of companies by half.
In recent years, there have been other times when the cabinet’s plans for Budget Day were tensely awaited. While greenhouse growers were unpleasantly hit by an increase in the ODE sustainable energy storage rates for grid electricity four years ago. This Budget Day the outlook was even bleaker: the Fiscal Climate Measures for Greenhouse Horticulture Bill (Wetsvoorstel Fiscale Klimaatmaatregelen Glastuinbouw) will hit the sector in the wallet hard. Particularly the abolition of the reduced energy-tax rate is going to hurt.
To ease the pain somewhat, the government has decided to phase out the reduced rates gradually. The present rate for natural gas is 3.6 cents per m3, which will rise to 36 cents by 2030 in annual increments of about 5 cents. As the proposal is still to be debated in the Lower House, this might mitigate the impact. Things could also get worse, however, if European Commission does not agree to a gradual phase-out. After all, the EC sees the reduced rate as unauthorised state aid and has granted greenhouse horticulture an exception until 2025.