Planned ban on natural gas providing opportunities for geothermal sector in the Netherlands

Date: 21 September 2018

With a planned ban on natural gas in the Netherlands by 2050, energy savings, but also district heating options fuelled by wast heat and geothermal will be crucial elements to meet the heating demand in the country.

A recent article by Treehugger describes the Dutch government’s plans to ban natural gas by 2050. This is a rather big deal as 89% of all Dutch homes are heated by natural gas fired boilers and residential heating accounting for about 10% of Dutch CO2 emissions.

With its “Energy Agenda” the government of the Netherlands aims to lead to an almost carbon-neutral economy in 2050. This is – by all means – not an easy task. And as replacing natural gas as fuel for heating with other sources of heat, cutting back on the demand through energy savings etc, is likely to be the largest contributing factor to reach those targets.

Other sources for meeting heating demand are described to come from heat pumps (electric and hybrid), waste heat, condensed boilers, and geothermal district heating.

Up to 20% of overall source of heating will represented by district heating networks, of which waste heat is described as the predominant source (70%) and geothermal energy (30%).

In the article by Treehugger, these visions are criticised for not explaining how a demand reduction of 40% can be achieved and furthermore how technologies will be applied.

The interesting fact remains that geothermal energy comes more and more in the focus, particularly by the private sector in the context of heating greenhouse operations. These projects could actually be a start of something bigger.

Looking at the geothermal potential and current growth, there clearly are opportunities for the geothermal sector to learn from earlier projects and fuel future district heating systems in the country.

This though needs government support, as well as strategic planning and long-term thinking by communities. It is crucial that the different players and organisations work together to make geothermal energy a part of the Netherland’s future energy mix.

Source: Treehugger /Thinkgeoenergy