Opportunities for heat

In the Netherlands there is major potential for heat conservation and sustainably sourced heat, which could together make a substantial contribution to the government’s sustainability targets for 2020. In a 2010 study it was calculated that the combined technical potential of these two options is over 200 PJ. Since that study much has changed, particularly in terms of the legislative and allied framework. The Heat Act has been introduced, the National Energy Agreement has been underwritten, and heat is now included in the SDE+ Renewable Energy Scheme. Europe has adopted the Renewable Energy Directive, the Energy Efficiency Directive and the revised Energy Performance of Buildings Directive. These are major changes that have affected Dutch heat demand, the potential savings available and the options for sustainable realisation thereof. This new study examines whether the potential calculated in 2010 is still available and identifies the opportunities for securing it.

In recent years, aggregate heat demand in the Netherlands has remained virtually constant and expectations are that there will be little change in the coming years, despite all the measures and legislation that have already introduced. Up to 2020 demand will be about 1,200 PJ, mainly for industry (most of it as heat >100°C), followed by households and small businesses. In the Netherlands, aggregate heat demand accounts for about 40% of overall energy demand.

A comprehensive study of the recent literature shows there is still major technical potential in the Netherlands for heat savings (260 PJ) and sustainably generated heat (282 PJ). The measures and their contributions to these totals are shown in Figure 1. Calculations show that 166 PJ and 86 PJ, respectively, can probably be cost-effectively realised. The potentials for heat savings and sustainable heat are of a similar magnitude: over 25% of future heat demand can be saved, while over 25% of that demand can be met by sustainably sourced heat. Both are essential components of any drive to secure the government’s set targets and achieve full sustainability of the country’s heat supply in the longer term.

Figure 1: Overall technical potential in 2020