Warming up to heat

A public district heat grid in Haaglanden Municipal District can lead to a substantial cut in CO2 emissions in the region. Estimates of the potential indicate that annual CO2 savings may be as much as 130-190 kt CO2 in 2020. A public heat grid will also have a positive impact on both air quality and energy security and offers plenty of scope for ‘greening’ the energy supply. However, a recent study by the Rotterdam municipal works department and past experience have shown that it is by no means straightforward to create a regional heat grid, because of the major financial investments involved. In particular, the use of heat sources like industrial waste heat, deep geothermal heat and heat from horticultural greenhouses involve major operating risks, though it is precisely these sources that can lead to substantial cuts in CO2 emissions. If the heat can be directly utilised, however, the risks are limited. This was the main reason for officials to reverse the order of the ‘chicken and the egg’: while in the past the main emphasis was on getting these large-scale heat sources up and running (as in the case of industrial waste heat and deep geothermal, for example), the aim now is to first generate substantial demand for heat before exploiting the sources in question. Given the cited advantages, it is important to create support for a public heat grid in the Municipal District. This brief report sets out a provisional operating strategy for developing a public heat grid as well as a concrete administrative road map for achieving this aim. Key initial steps in this process are to establish a ‘Steering Party on Heat Utilisation in Haaglanden’ and draw up a so-called ‘Heat Contract’ in which local authorities commit themselves to developing a regional grid.


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