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Interview with NLgroen and LTO Bedrijven

Friday, 23 April 2021

This year the trading platforms MEGAwind and Energie van Boeren merged into NLgroen. Both the platforms act as a mediator between renewable energy suppliers and the buyers of Guarantees of Origin (GOs) and carbon credits. More than 2 000 sustainable energy generators have valued their GOs through their platform and about 70% of the green certificates traded via NLgroen are supplied by Dutch farmers and horticulturists.  

Greenfact recently had the opportunity to interview Nick Waltmans (NLgroen) and ArnoutGoeman (LTO Bedrijven) to find out more about the merger and their thoughts on the Dutch market. 

1. Give us a brief background on NLgroen and LTO Bedrijven?

NLgroen was established in 2015 by Nick Waltmans to help smaller producers to gain money with their GoO’s, basically because larger suppliers and brokers weren’t willing to offer producers an appropriate amount of money for their GoO’s. Currently, more than 2.000 producers are using NLgroen to help them in trading their GoO’s.

 LTO Bedrijven is a holding company owned by the 3 regional organizations for agriculture and horticulture (together under LTO Nederland). LTO Bedrijven has several subsidiaries and joint ventures, aimed at the Dutch agricultural sector. One of these companies is specialized in energy-related products and services such as the procurement of electricity and gas, solar panels (PV and thermal), and advisory services for Dutch farmers. Since 2019 we started trading GoO’s in a joint venture together with Nick Waltmans called “Energie van Boeren” (Energy by farmers).

2. Tell us more about the aim behind the merger between the three trading platforms NLgroen, MEGAwind, and Energie van Boeren?

The main goal behind it was to combine forces. After starting Energie van Boeren together, it made sense to combine all trading activities for scale purposes. We could also use synergy benefits such as combined marketing and further automation. After this, Nick Waltmans and LTO Bedrijven formed the shareholders of all the 3 platforms as it didn’t make sense to operate all three companies separately.

3. What are your overall views on the current state of the Dutch GO market? Have there been any key developments?

The key development is that since approximately 2014, the trading of the Dutch GoOs has become more volatile, and besides that, there is a plus value for the fact that the GoOs are nationally produced. Currently, the prices are around about one Euro, but especially Dutch Solar and Wind GoOs are still priced higher than European GoOs. Demand for local GoOs will increase, just as production. From our point of view, this will also be a fact in the upcoming years. 

4. The prices seem to have stabilized in the last year after a precipitous fall in the year before that. What do you think are the reasons behind it? Do you think Dutch GOs will continue to fetch a premium price compared to EU GOs?

The price increase during 2018 and 2019, was largely based on market emotion, and a market correction was expected. The price fall had already started before COVID, but due to COVID, the decrease was higher and even moving faster than expected. For future development, we expect that focus on local GoOs will remain high in the Dutch market, and we expect premium prices to continue for the coming years as well.

5. Are you planning to become involved in the biomethane certificate market? How do you see the Netherlands evolving from a green gas perspective? 

Yes, we are planning to become involved; for now, we don’t have a clear view of the evolution of this market because we are investigating the opportunities and how we can become a distinctive player in this market. Though it is a market in development, we have an excellent position between supply and demand.

6. What do you think of demand from Dutch corporates? At current price levels, do you see them demanding more EU or Dutch GOs?

Currently, Dutch corporates are demanding more EU GoOs than Dutch GoOs. On the other side, we see an increasing demand from local companies; this is apparently due to the price decrease in 2020 of the Dutch GoO’s, leading to price levels becoming acceptable again for them.

7. What about your carbon removal credits initiative with farmers? Could you elaborate on that?

We are starting, in cooperation with farmer collectives, to investigate the possibilities to sequestrate carbon in the soil through carbon farming practices. This is a developing market offering us the opportunity to add value in connecting supply and demand. 

8. What are your future hopes for this merger and the trading platform? Lastly, how can people contact you for more information?

Our future hope is to help 5 000+ producers with their GoOs business within a few years. Besides that, we also hope to help market parties with their GoO requests whether they want to purchase or sell GoOs. We do believe that we are the platform where you can get support with your GoO business with fair prices and maybe, more importantly, we can fulfill your demand whether is for local, regional, or national GoOs. People can reach us via info@nlgroen.com and/or 085-4444182.