Advisory commission on sustainability of biomass for energy applications

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The “Dutch advisory commission on sustainability of biomass for energy applications” is installed by the Dutch government. The commission advices the Dutch minister of Economic Affairs on the extent to which certification schemes guarantee the sustainability of solid biomass. The commission only advices on request of the minister.

The minister can approve these certification schemes, after which energy companies can use the approved schemes to demonstrate that the solid biomass that they use complies with the Dutch sustainability criteria for solid biomass. Demonstrating this compliance is a condition for receiving subsidy from the so-called SDE+ subsidy scheme.


Composition and tasks of the advisory commission

The commission is composed of a chairman, four members and a secretary, see also “Samenstelling Commissie” (in Dutch). The tasks of the commission are defined in Dutch legislation (“Instellingsbesluit”, in Dutch) and include not only advising the minister on compliance of certification schemes with the Dutch sustainability criteria for solid biomass, but also advising the minister on observed irregularities in the application of approved certification schemes. 

Commissions' working language

The commissions' working language is Dutch. The commission can communicate in English and has main documents available in English as a service to foreign administrators of certification schemes and foreign stakeholders. However, some parts of the commissions' work are in Dutch. The commission does not provide translations of these parts. 

Start in 2017

The commission has started its activities per July 1, 2017. This allows the minister to take decisions on requests for approval as soon as further legislation has come into force in 2018. Administrators of certification schemes can submit a request for approval via the website of will receive the request on behalf of the ministry of Economic Affairs and will check the request for completeness.

Assessment procedure and external input by stakeholders

The working method of the commission is described on the webpage “assessment procedure”. As part of the procedure, external stakeholders can provide external input on how the scheme performs in practice. Therefore, the commission will publish on its website which certification schemes have submitted a request for approval, and for which biomass categories and sustainability criteria they have done so. Also the scheme documents that were submitted as part of the request for approval will be published on the website of the commission.

Publication of advises of the commission

The commission will publish an advice to the minister on this website once the minister has taken a decision on the request for approval of the certification scheme. The commission expects to publish its first advices in the course of 2018.