Do you wish to use solid biomass to generate electricity and heat? If so, it is possible to apply for the Stimulation of Sustainable Energy Production (SDE++) scheme. The SDE++ expands on the former Stimulation of Sustainable Energy Production (SDE+) scheme.
Read the text below to find out how.
In some cases you must demonstrate that the biomass used meets the applicable legal sustainability criteria. This applies to the following categories:
- co-firing and co-gasification of biomass in power stations (since 2018 it is no longer possible to apply for subsidy in this category within the SDE+/SDE++);
- wood pellet steam boiler of 5 MW or more;
- wood pellet burner of 5 MWth or more and less than 100 MWe;
- wood pellet boiler for district heating.
Other types of installations such as those mentioned in the Allocation Regulation for SDE Categories are not subject to these criteria.
Some of these types of installations must meet the sustainability criteria in the revised Renewable Energy Directive (REDII). To view these, visit the page REDII sustainability criteria for biomass under the SDE++ scheme. The information on this page is provided in Dutch, since it is mainly applicable to Dutch stakeholders.
How do I demonstrate that the biomass used comes from sustainable sources?
There are a couple of ways to demonstrate that the biomass used comes from sustainable sources; purchasing biomass that is certified according to an approved certification scheme and/or ensuring that the supply chain is verified or additionally verified. Various combinations are possible:
- an approved certification scheme;
- a combination of several approved certification schemes;
- a combination of one or more approved certification schemes and additional verification;
- verification only.
Below, you will find an overview of the certification schemes approved by the Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy and the recognised Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs) for certification and verification.
You can demonstrate that the biomass complies with sustainability criteria by submitting an annual report. This report should specify the sustainability characteristics of all biomass used in your installation. You must use the following documents:
- an annual report on the sustainability characteristics of all consignments of solid biomass used in your installation, for which a standard format and guide is available in dutch;
- a conformity year statement along with this report, where this statement must be issued by a recognised Conformity Assessment Body (CAB).
You must include a conformity year statement with the report. An example of this statement can be found in the above-mentioned format. This must have been issued by a recognised CAB. What are the criteria that the conformity year statement must meet? And how should the verification be carried out? You can find this information in the Verification Protocol for Sustainable Biomass that must meet the Criteria in the Regulation on the Conformity Assessment of Solid Biomass for Energy Applications under the SDE(++) Scheme (hereinafter: the Verification Protocol). You can find this protocol under ‘Downloads’ at the bottom of this page. You can find more information about the role and requirements of CABs in the section on CABs on this page.
All relevant information on the biomass chain, from the Forest Management Unit/First Collection Point to the energy producer, must be provided in order to demonstrate the sustainability of the biomass. Requirements are also defined for how this information needs to be passed on within the chain (chain management, Chain of Custody). Approved certification schemes for passing on sustainability information can be found under the heading of 'Approved certification schemes'. The Verification Protocol can also be used to provide assurances about the chain. A guidance Chain of Custody document with additional explanations regarding the legal requirements has been drawn up for companies. This document explains what information you need to pass on and how to do this.
If you qualify for SDE+/SDE++-subsidy, you will receive an advance on a yearly basis from us. We deduct this advance from the actual subsidy amount you are entitled to, based on the information in the report submitted by you to. You may produce energy using biomass which sustainability has not been demonstrated or is insufficiently demonstrated. However, we cannot give subsidy for this unsustainably produced biomass.
Conformity assessment bodies (CABs)
CABs play a role in demonstrating the sustainability of biomass. They are authorised to perform 3 types of activities:
- issuing a certificate to economic operators based on a certification scheme that has been fully or partially approved by the Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy. Claims/statements of conformity from such a scheme may be used to demonstrate compliance with the legal sustainability criteria. These activities are carried out within the context of the relevant certification scheme;
- issuing a verification statement to an economic operator based on the requirements of the Verification Protocol for Sustainability of Solid Biomass for Energy Applications, with the aim of demonstrating compliance with the legal sustainability criteria or a part thereof;
- issuing an conformity year statement to an energy producer, based on the requirements of the Verification Protocol for Sustainability of Solid Biomass for Energy Applications. This statement is required for obtaining the SDE+/SDE++-subsidy for the part of the generated electricity and/or heat demonstrated as being sustainable.
CABs authorised to carry out the activities
Application for recognition to perform the activities
As a CAB, you may apply to for the recognition of a certification scheme and/or for performing the activities related to the Verification Protocol. You can do this by sending an email to email@example.com.
The basic condition for obtaining this recognition is that you must hold accreditation for activities related to an approved scheme and/or the Verification Protocol. In case of accreditation for the activities related to the Verification Protocol, accreditation can be requested from the Dutch Accreditation Council (RvA). In case of activities relating to an approved certification scheme, the corresponding accreditation is also assessed as part of the recognition procedure.
The conditions for the recognition of a CAB are laid down in the Besluit conformiteitsbeoordeling vaste biomassa voor energietoepassingen (Decree on the Conformity Assessment of Solid Biomass for Energy Applications).
Only certification schemes that are fully or partially approved by the Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy may be used to demonstrate the sustainability of the biomass.
As a scheme manager, you may submit an application for approval. You can do this by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Advisory Committee on the Sustainability of Biomass for Energy Applications advises the Minister on the approval of certification schemes. On their website, you will find more about this procedure, which is an important part of the approval process.
Approval is granted based on the most up-to-date set of documents relating to the scheme. Any new scheme documents must be sent to email@example.com for approval.
The table gives an overview of the certification schemes approved by the Minister. The decisions in the far right-hand column form the legal basis for the approvals, rather than the table itself. All the other entries in the table are only intended for providing further clarification.
|Schemes and useable claims||Approved document versions||Geographical scope||Applicability||Approval decision1|
|ATFS||VS||Category 1,2 partially approved||20-09-2018|
documents to approval
documents to approval
documents to approval
(Better Biomass certified)
|BB||Worldwide||Category 1-5 partially approved||05-11-2018|
|Category 1-5 addition to approval||16-04-2019|
|Category 1-5 addition to approval||21-09-2020|
|Category 1-5 addition to approval||08-02-2022|
|Bonsucro2||Bonsucro||Worldwide||Category 5, partially approved||16-07-2020|
(FSC 100% en FSC controlled wood)
|FSC int.||FSC V5 countries4||Category 1,2 partially approved||05-11-2018|
|Additional schemes to approval||19-12-2019|
|Additional schemes to approval||20-04-2020|
|Additional schemes to approval||06-04-2021|
|Additional schemes to approval||03-02-2022|
(FSC 100% en FSC controlled wood)
|FSC US||VS5||Category 1,2 partially approved||19-12-2019|
|FSC SA (SGS Qualifor)|
|FSC SA||South Africa||Category 1,2 partially approved||13-10-21|
(GGL certified (RBA) and GGL certified and GGL controlled)
|GGL||Worldwide||Category 5 partially approved||24-01-2019|
|Extension of approval|
Category 1-4 see approval
|Additional scheme documents to approval||20-05-2020|
|Additional scheme documents to approval||01-10-2021|
(SBP compliant en SBP controlled)
|SBP||Worldwide||Category 1-4 (CoC) and category 5, partially approved||20-09-2018|
(NL SDE compliant (ID2D))
|Worldwide||Extensions of approval Category 1-4||24-01-2019|
(NL SDE compliant (ID2E))
(NL SDE controlled (ID2D))
(NL SDE controlled (ID2E))
|Worldwide||Extension of approval, category 1,2 partially approved||19-12-2019|
|Additional scheme documents to approval||20-04-2020|
|Additional scheme documents to approval||16-07-2020|
|Additional scheme documents to approval||17-11-2020|
|Additional scheme documents to approval||05-01-2021|
|Additional scheme documents to approval||24-01-2021|
|Additional scheme documents to approval||12-04-2021|
|Additional scheme documents to approval||29-04-2021|
|Additional scheme documents to approval||06-07-2021|
|Additional scheme documents to approval||16-08-2021|
|Additional scheme documents to approval||02-11-2021|
|Additional scheme documents to approval||01-12-2021|
|Additional scheme documents to approval||24-01-2022|
|Additional scheme documents to approval||30-05-2022|
(SFI certified forest content)
|SFI10||US and Canada||Category 1,2 partially approved||18-03-2019|
|Additional scheme for approval||10-10-2019|
|Additional scheme for approval||05-06-2020|
|Additional schem for approval||10-03-2020|
|ISCC Solid Biomass NL|
(ISCC solid biomass NL compliant)
|ISCC||Worldwide||Category 1-5 partially approved||16-07-2019|
Scheme documents mentioned in the approval decisions can be downloaded from the websites of these schemes, or can be requested for by sending an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
1 This column refers to the original decision with an overview of the sustainability criteria covered.
2 The approval for Bonsucro for SDE requires certification against the document 'SCH-Bonsucro-additional-requirements-bagasse-Netherlands'. Besides that, it is currently impossible to grant recognition to CBIs that do certification work for Bonsucro, because up until now, the Bonsucro certification scheme does not facilitate its CBIs to receive accreditation by an independent third institute that provides the same protection level as provided by national accreditation (see article 3 of Decree).
3 The approval relates to the 'FSC 100%' and 'FSC Controlled Wood' claims. The 'FSC Mix' claim and 'FSC Credit' claim cannot be used on the conformity year statement for sustainable forest management
4 The current list of FSC V5 countries can be downloaded here. This geographical restriction only applies to FSC 100%. FSC COC and 'FSC Controlled Wood' are applicable worldwide. Be aware that the scope of the scheme in a FSC V5 country can be applicable to plantations, natural forests or both. This scope can be found on the above-mentioned FSC V5 list.
5 The geographical scope is the United states: limited to the 48 consecutive states (so not Alaska or Hawaii).
6 This concerns an SBP Chain of Custody approval, where a combination with Instruction Document 5D is a requirement for SDE+/SDE++. See the decision for an explanation. As soon as the economic operator is certified against Instruction document 5E, this additional requirement no longer applies.
7 This concerns an SBP group management approval, where a combination with Instruction Document 2D is a requirement for SDE+/SDE++. See the decision for an explanation.
8 This concerns several approvals: for controlled wood in group certification, only in combination with certification for Instruction document 2D, and for the risk based approach, only in case the economic operator is certified against Instruction document 5E.
9 This concerns the claim 'SFI certified forest content'. This approval does not concern the claim 'SFI Certified Sourcing'. 'SFI certified forest content' cannot be used to show compliance to Dutch controlled biomass.
10 Since January 2022, the new SFI standard has been published which certificate holders have been using since then. This new standard has not been approved by the minister. Currently, it cannot be guaranteed that the entire supply chain up to the energy producer only uses the old, approved standard (the 2015-2021 SFI STANDARD). For this reason, currently SFI can no longer be used to demonstrate biomass sustainability under the SDE++ scheme.
* Exclusively for 2019 and in addition to the approved schemes in the above table, the Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy has provided an additional option for demonstrating the sustainability of the used biomass. More information about this can be found under the heading 'Exception in 2019'.
Cumulative overview of approved sustainability criteria per biomass category
Categories 1 and 2 (pdf)
Controlled biomass (pdf)
Categories 3 and 4 (pdf)
Category 5 (pdf)
Category 2 risk-based (pdf)
Certification schemes pending approval
On the website of the Advisory Committee on the Sustainability of Biomass for Energy Applications, you can see an overview of the schemes that are pending approval.
30% REDII-certified biomass
The revised Renewable Energy Directive (REDII) sets a European target for the generation of more sustainable energy. The SDE(++) scheme has been updated to take REDII into account as of 1 January 2022. Energy producers who applied for an SDE(++) subsidy after 21 December 2018 can no longer use controlled biomass. Instead, they may use at most 30% REDII-certified forest biomass. Energy producers who applied for an SDE(++) subsidy before 21 December 2018 are not affected by this change.
As of 1 January 2022, the European Commission (EC) has not yet recognised any certification scheme (or recognised only a limited number of schemes). This is why a transitional arrangement is in place for energy producers looking to purchase REDII-certified biomass to demonstrate that they meet the REDII criteria. This transitional arrangement also affects the obligation to be self-certified for a REDII-recognised scheme. The transitional arrangement is specified in an amendment to the SDE(++) General Implementing Regulations. To read more about this arrangement, visit the page REDII sustainability criteria for biomass under the SDE++ scheme.
A new version of the Verification Protocol applies as of 1 January 2022. This protocol includes the amendments to Dutch legislation as a consequence of the entry into force of REDII. These affect installations that received a decision on their application for an SDE(++) subsidy after December 2018. You can find the Dutch-language version of the protocol under ‘Downloads’ at the bottom of this page. The English-language version will be available for download from the English-language page soon.
To prepare the conformity year statement for energy supplied in 2021, you must refer to the January 2021 version of the Verification Protocol for Sustainable Solid Biomass for Energy Applications.
CABs that wish to issue certificates or verification statements must be approved for these tasks within the framework of the Besluit en de Regeling conformiteitsbeoordeling vaste biomassa voor energietoepassingen (Decree and Regulation on the Conformity Assessment of Solid Biomass for Energy Applications).
The table below displays an overview of the CBAs recognised by the Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy. The decisions in the far right-hand column form the legal basis for the recognitions, rather than the table itself.
|Nepcon||SBP||22 November 2018|
|FSC||4 December 2018|
|Control Union||SBP||22 November 2018|
|FSC||4 December 2018|
|Verification Protocol||4 December 2018|
|GGL||21 February 2019|
|SCS||SBP||22 November 2018|
|FSC||21 February 2019|
|QS||Better Biomass||4 December 2018|
|Bureau Veritas||ATFS||21 February 2019|
|SFI||5 June 2020|
|NSF||ATFS||21 February 2019|
|SFI||6 February 2020|
|SFI||13 February 2020|
|Dekra||Better Biomass||25 March 2019|
|KPMG||SFI||14 January 2020|
|DNV GL||SBP||18 March 2020|
|Forest Certification LLC||SBP||6 May 2021|
More information (in Dutch)
- Decree on the Conformity Assessment of Solid Biomass for Energy Applications
- Regulation on the Conformity Assessment of Solid Biomass for Energy Applications
- General Regulations Implementing the Stimulation of Sustainable Energy Production Scheme
- Page in Dutch
- Biomass SDE++
- Letter to Parliament of 21 December 2018