The natural gas phase-out in the Netherlands

This briefing describes the Dutch transition from natural gas-based heat towards carbon-free heating by 2050. The briefing was commissioned by the European Climate Foundation, with the aim of supporting other jurisdictions in Europe and the US in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from buildings. The briefing therefore has a strong focus on policy and the role and perspective of gas and electricity grid operators.

The use of natural gas in the built environment is still predominant in the Netherlands, but this needs to change in order to meet the climate goals of the Paris Climate Agreement. Because the natural gas phase-out will affect millions of households and professional stakeholders, the Dutch approach focuses on affordability and feasibility. For households, the condition of affordability poses a significant challenge since the financial benefits of natural gas-free homes often do not outweigh the costs as yet. The condition of feasibility on the other hand, requires national and local governments to align the interests of these stakeholders with sustainability. Gas and electricity grid operators play a key role in this, as their gas grids will lose their usefulness and their electricity grids will need to accommodate higher peak demand.