The role of district heating in the climate-neutral city

In  the National Energy Agreement for Sustainable Growth (‘SER agreement’), the Dutch government has pledged 100% climate neutrality of the country’s energy supply by 2050. For the built environment the aim is to have an energy-neutral energy supply, to be achieved through a combination of energy efficiency and renewable energy sources.

It has been shown in various studies that district-related measures, including district heating, will be a key element in achieving a climate-neutral built environment. At present, though, robust measures are not yet sufficiently attractive economically, whether they be building-related or district-related. In certain segments of the existing building stock, district-related measures can be applied to achieve the desired energy neutrality at substantially lower cost than by investing solely in building-related measures. The main barrier to implementing such district-related measures is the absence of a level playing field and the existence of split incentives for building owners, users and suppliers. There are various options for encouraging investments in district-related measures, through dedicated legislation and changes to pertinent rules and regulations, for example.  
This report discusses and analyses these issues, in a quest for a least-cost route to securing the policy objective laid down in the ‘SER agreement’.

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