EU approves €10 million aid for Nuon’s energy-saving CO2 capture project in The Netherlands

Brussels, 26 May 2010. The European Commission has authorised The Netherlands to provide a grant of €10 million to Nuon Energy Sourcing NV for a CO2 capture demonstration project. The project will be carried out at the Nuon power plant in Buggenum with the aim of optimising the energy efficiency of CO2 capture. The Commission concluded that the aid is in line with EU state aid rules, because on balance, the positive effects of the measure outweigh the potential distortions of competition.

“The support for Nuon’s project will further the development of energy-efficient carbon capture at an industrial scale without unduly distorting competition.” said Joaquín Almunia, Vice-President of the Commission in charge of competition.

The project concerns the deployment of a CO2 capture demonstration facility at Nuon´s Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) power plant in Buggenum, in the Limburg Province. It aims at optimising the energy efficiency of CO2 capture (pre-combustion technology) for large scale applications in the electricity sector. Nuon may also use this technology in its large scale Magnum IGCC power plant to be built in the Eemshaven, in the Groningen Province. The Buggenum project will be conducted by Nuon, but also involves academic partners and knowledge-based companies such as Delft University, ECN, KEMA and TNO. Nuon will share the results of the project with the Dutch authorities and through academic partnerships and conferences and professional fora such as CATO2 in The Netherlands.

The development of carbon capture and storage (CCS), which includes the capture of CO2, is encouraged by the Commission as part of the 2008 climate and energy package for reaching the EU 2020 environmental objectives. The Commission concluded that the state aid measure is an appropriate and proportionate measure necessary to achieve an objective of common interest. In particular, the Commission considered that the distortions of competition and the effect on trade are limited so that on balance the positive effects of the measure outweigh the potential negative effects on competition.

The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number N 190/2009 in the State Aid Register on the DG Competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved. New publications of State aid decisions on the internet and in the Official Journal are listed in the State Aid Weekly e-News.

Citation:  Press Release of the European Commission, IP/10/614

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