First PLANHEAT transition round table in the Netherlands

On 26 June 2018, PLANHEAT, City-zen (FP7 project) as well as MSG and EBN organised a heating & cooling transition round table  at the VNG annual conference (the Dutch Association of Municipalities) in Maastricht, which was attended by around 40 mayors and aldermen from every region in the Netherlands.

The heating and cooling sector in the Netherlands is undergoing major changes. Most buildings are currently connected to the national gas network. However, the huge Slochteren natural gas field is causing earthquakes, and there is a strong desire to move towards a more sustainable energy system. This has resulted in changes in Dutch national legislation this year. The requirement for new buildings to be connected to gas was removed, therefore opening up possibilities for residual and renewable sources.

For these reasons, Dutch municipalities rarely need to be convinced of the necessity of a transition to residual and renewable HC sources. However, there is a strong interest in information on possible measures, transition guidelines and of course support tools, so, quite quickly, conference attendees fully booked the session, held on location at the Belvédère information centre across the Meuse river.

Introducing the session

After an introduction from Eveline Rosendaal (EBN) the session started with presentations from Sander de Jong (EBN) on geothermal energy and alderman Gert Jan Krabbendam on local experiences in Maastricht. Siebe Broersma (TUD) then presented the transition methodology developed in the City-zen project, followed by Michiel Fremouw (TUD) on PLANHEAT, which provides the tools to support these strategies.

Transition measures in the Warmerwijk game

The session’s main course was the ‘De toekomst van Warmerwijk’ (‘The future of Warmington’) heat transition game, intended to both create awareness of the work required and provide discussion with participants. Attendees were invited to play the game (introduced by George Wurpel from MSG), in which the assignment was to reduce CO2 emissions to zero for different types of model cities, which varied both in size and residual heat availability. Game leader Mariken Betsema (MSG/EBN) called the rounds. Each game round represented a 4 year period, in which decisions had to be made on how to spend available funds and deal with the concerns of local citizens. Examples of measures are increasing insulation, using heat pumps (which would also require renewable electricity, and wind turbines might cause concerns from citizens) and expanding DH networks.

Deciding on strategies (photo courtesy of Mariken Betsema)

All four groups managed to achieve zero CO2 well in time, leaving time for further discussion and questions to the speakers, and finishing the afternoon with drinks. We’d like to thank all who enthusiastically attended our session, as well as our great colleagues from MSG and EBN!

After summer, more events are planned for Dutch municipalities. Subscribe to our newsletter to stay informed. If you’re interested in attending one of these local events, also feel free to contact Dutch PLANHEAT partner TU Delft directly at m.a.fremouw@tudelft.nl.