Energy transition

The energy transition starts with you, but where do you start?

The agreements on the energy transition (the transition from fossil fuels to sustainable energy) for the Netherlands are laid down in the Climate Agreement. The government and society are demanding rapid action on the climate dossiers. Central government and all citizens are responsible. But where do you start? How do you determine your strategy? And how do you find the right partners and funding?

One of the major challenges in the implementation of the energy transition is the fragmentation of the Dutch climate landscape. Parties that could reinforce one another often have difficulties making contact. At PwC, we oversee the entire field and are happy to bring you into contact with relevant partners, across sectors, industries and countries. Our position enables us to develop, validate and accelerate plans and projects in a very specific, practical and hands-on manner. Thanks to our extensive experience with complex public and private projects (including those focusing on energy), we can work with you to quickly come up with specific and constructive steps to achieve the objective of the agreement for 2030.

The climate agreement highlights

  • On 12 December 2015, 195 countries arranged in the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to 2 degrees by 2030.
  • The Dutch Climate Agreement must contribute to this by reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 49%.
  • This reduction is divided into five 'climate tables': electricity, built environment, industry, agriculture and mobility.
  • This structure requires intensive and constructive cooperation between citizens, public authorities, businesses and interest groups, as well as thorough testing of all initiatives for feasibility, affordability and effectiveness. It is vital that the burden of the energy and heat transition is shared proportionally. This is a challenge that we are keen to take up.

Important topics for energy transition


Generating renewable energy is a crucial part of the energy transition. PwC has an excellent overview of the opportunities and challenges related to renewable energy and electrification. We will be happy to talk to you to see where your challenges and opportunities lie.

Sustainable mobility

E-mobility plays a vital role in the energy transition. Public authorities are increasingly developing policies to promote clean mobility (such as environmental zones and tax incentives). The aim is to reduce the emissions of particulate matter and greenhouse gases resulting from the traditional way in which we meet our mobility needs.

Industrial decarbonisation

Industrial decarbonisation involves large-scale investment in emission reduction options. Technical options to reduce greenhouse gases (such as hydrogen, electrification or CCS) need to be further developed into cost-effective alternatives in which large-scale investments can be made. Players face great challenges, but the transition also brings opportunities.

Heat transition

Heat transition is an essential part of the energy transition. A large part of our energy consumption is intended for heat (or cold) generation. At present, gas is one of the most important sources of heat supply in the built environment.

Available resources in search of suitable targets

There is sufficient money in the market for a wide range of projects and initiatives. However, a regularly recurring obstacle is that the parties involved do not have the communication skills to deal with one another convincingly. We shore up your projects and initiatives with solid business cases, supported by accessible calculation models that provide an unambiguous insight into, for example, cash flows during the term of a project. Such a business case ensures that everyone looks at the plans from the same perspective and therefore reinforces cooperation and decision-making.

New roles

The energy transition invites completely new ways of financing. The energy user is not only a consumer, but often a client too. For example, by participating in energy cooperatives or, in the case of Energy Service Companies (ESCos), as a co-beneficiary in the profits achieved by energy saving. We help developers and energy cooperatives to set up sound project structures in which governance, implementation and participation are guaranteed. In many initiatives, public authorities, citizens and businesses work together. That is why we need clear rules on state aid and competition. Just as we need fiscal clarity on CO2 levies and energy taxation. You can read more about this in our recent study into the effects of a national CO2 tax in Dutch industry.

Global issues, regional solutions

In order to achieve the ambitious global and national sustainability targets, local initiatives are vital. However, organising support, streamlining the plans and maintaining a grip on the many corporations that are being set up is quite a challenge. To make plans viable and to ensure cooperation within the region, it is important that initiatives are embedded in the Regional Energy Strategy (RES). And, perhaps even more important, that all parties work on the basis of one core objective. We can help your organisation or ad hoc partnership to achieve the energy transition goals.

Examples of how PwC is helping clients with their energy transition

Implementing the province's energy strategy

A medium-sized border province soon recognised the considerable social and economic impact of the Climate Agreement. The provincial authorities wish to remain in control of the implementation of the energy transition and have asked PwC for support in defining and prioritising the efforts relating to the various climate tables. In line with this, the authorities have also asked for our help in getting involved in the negotiations at the right time and with the right information, so that the interests of the province are optimally promoted and ultimately guaranteed too in the agreements. We also helped the province to identify the expected social impact (e.g. on employment per sector), the economic impact (e.g. on the contribution to GDP) and the environmental impact (such as the expected required CO2 reduction per sector). In addition, we provided a qualitative assessment of the main financial risks for the province.

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Developing innovative Power Purchase Agreement

As of 2030, a large government organisation with a tender obligation wishes to perform its tasks in an energy-neutral manner. That is possible with a wind farm of 100 Megawatt on its own land. PwC developed an innovative Power Purchase Agreement in which the market is asked to develop and operate the wind farm and to supply green electricity to the organisation on competitive conditions for the next 25 years. In addition, due to cooperation with public stakeholders, all agreements provide extra clarity about the preconditions, with respect for everyone's role and interests. The government wants to use its position as ‘initiating client’ to set the market in motion. The project is an excellent example of how parties that are obliged to tender can also meet their own energy needs in an innovative way and for the long term.

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An overview of the return on investment in energy transition

A cooperative venture consisting of provincial, municipal and industrial parties has asked us to develop their plans for the reduction of local greenhouse gas emissions. For each proposed measure, we make clear what the intended reduction is, what costs are involved and what social benefits are associated with it. Together with the public and private parties involved, we are looking for subsidies, guarantees and loans to finance the plans. By means of this approach, the province is fulfilling its responsibility to contribute to the climate objectives.

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Development of off and onshore wind farms

A medium-sized municipality wishes to generate 25% of its energy needs sustainably, including by means of a new wind farm on an existing business park. The municipality is working with a development partner on a plan that will allow both residents and the local business community to participate in the project. An appropriate investment model must be put in place for this purpose. In addition, the municipality wants the electricity produced to be purchased mainly by its own citizens and businesses. And finally, the remaining financial return of the turbines must go to a local sustainability fund. The municipality has asked PwC to assess the financial aspects of the plan drawn up by the development partner. On the basis of the knowledge we have built up in the Netherlands and Germany on the development, structuring and financing of off and onshore wind farms, we have drawn up an extensive set of benchmark data. Using this benchmark set, we were able to quickly provide insight into the solidity of the development partner's business case.

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Heat supply by means of geothermal heat

A large university in the Netherlands is aiming to provide its campus with sustainable heat for the next 30 years. The university therefore wants to develop a geothermal project and connect it to the heat grid. In a geothermal project, energy is obtained by using the natural heat pockets that are located several kilometres deep in the earth.

The university's ambition is to use this project for research, education and development. Real-time measurements and more advanced data analysis will provide new insight into what goes on deep underground. Consequently, the project will make a substantial contribution to the further development of knowledge regarding the application of geothermal energy in the built environment. The project is seen by the parties involved as helping to define the heat transition in the Netherlands.

The university has asked PwC to help with the business case, the financial model and the financing of the project. Thanks to the efforts of our international renewable energy team, the university will be able to compare its approach to similar projects at home and abroad.

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Contact us

Jan Willem Velthuijsen

Chief Economist, PwC Netherlands

Tel: +31 (0)88 792 75 58

Viviana Kooistra - Voorwald

NL Industry Leader Energy, Utilities and Resources, Deals Partner, PwC Netherlands

Tel: +31 (0)88 792 33 53

Jan-Willem Sanders

Advisory Partner, PwC Netherlands

Tel: +31 (0)88 792 48 70

Lennart Konijnenberg

Director, PwC Netherlands

Tel: +31 (0)88 792 31 71

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