200-200 in 2020
Review of potential Dutch heat capacity

In the Netherlands demand for heat currently represents around 40% of total energy demand. In this country it is above all the built environment, industry (incl. the energy sector) and greenhouse horticulture that account for this relatively high percentage. These sectors vary in their demand characteristics as well as in the options available for heat savings and procurement of sustainably generated heat. For the organisation Warmtenetwerk (‘Heat Grid’) CE Delft conducted a literature study to identify technical savings options in these sectors and the volume of heat that can be supplied sustainably.

As various studies have shown, in the absence of new policies there will be little if any change in demand for heat over the next ten years. At the same time, however, there are numerous options for bringing about just such a change. This study shows that the technical potential exists to save almost 300 PJ of heat by 2020. The most important measures are the following: 

  • Insulation measures in the built environment
  • Process improvements in industry
  • Utilisation of waste heat from power stations and waste incinerators
  • Cogeneration (combined heat and power generation)

For the horizon of 2020 adopted in this study the sustainable options also provide almost 300 PJ potential. In this case the main options are the following:

  • Geothermal energy in greenhouse horticulture and the built environment
  • Biogas for bio-cogeneration, or green gas
  • Heat pumps/heat-cold storage for the built environment
  • Heat from biomass (bio-boilers) for greenhouse horticulture and industry

Although the technical potentials of heat conservation and sustainable heat are approximately the same, the two approaches differ in cost effectiveness. While almost 200 PJ of heat savings can be achieved cost-effectively, this amount is very limited in the case of the sustainable heat options. For an additional price of 10 €/GJ, however, the same figure of 200 PJ of sustainable heat is feasible. Compared with green power options (offshore and onshore wind, photovoltaics), a strong policy focus on heat con-servation and sustainably produced heat would therefore appear to be the logical choice, both economically and to make use of the available potential.