The Regieorgaan Energietransitie, the body responsible for coordinating a move to greener energy systems in the Netherlands, has drawn up a strategy for making the production of electricity and heat/cold more sustainable. The strategy comprises the following elements:
- maximum energy conservation
- priority for renewable capacity and energy-efficient cogeneration
- consequently, less scope for new ‘must-run’, baseload capacity…
- …along with greater need for flexible, ‘quick-fire’ gas-fired capacity
- initially ‘gas’ can be natural gas, but with growing use of coal gas and biogas with time.
For this study, in which CE Delft teamed up with Jan Paul van Soest’s Sustainability Consulting this strategy was further underpinned and its robustness assessed in a series of computer simulations at Delft Technological University. These calculations show that in the generating system operated in north-west Europe ‘must-run’ capacity and renewable capacity are at odds with one another. If the Dutch government’s major policy programme ‘Clean and Efficient’ is implemented as planned, there will be very little scope for (new) baseload capacity. One good way of integrating the fluctuating supply of renewable energy (particularly wind) into the system is to use ‘quick-fire’ generating capacity burning gas. In the relatively short term (by around 2020-2025) this is the only realistic route for integrating wind power.