The Dutch situation
A term most people will remember is “get rid of the gas”. I may not have been promoted in the field of communication, however I do know one thing: Give each message a positive twist. So we are not going to “get rid off the gas”but what are we going to do? On of the option of being free of natural gas is a heat network. The climate agreement edict states the ambition to double the heat network connections within the next ten years. Which means an addition of 750.000 connections. It is always a good idea to see how other countries have accomplished this. Thankfully, professor Annelies van Huygen of the University of Amsterdam has researched this. Before we take a look at the situation in other countries, let us first take a look at the Dutch situation.
In the Netherlands we mostly have collective systems to which everyone is obligated to participate. The tariffs in the Netherlands have been maximised, for which an entire system has been created. In reality this usually means that the maximum tariff is billed. Apart from this, the tariff system is setup in such a way, that people with less usage pay more in comparison. Well, this aproach isn’t making heat networks very popular ofcourse.
There is a better way
Abroad the aproach is quite different. There are no obligations which leaves the consumers a choice and prices are often based on the calculation of the actual costs. Often this also reduces the tariffs, for otherwise consumers will look elsewhere. The competition this inflicts will furthermore stimulate innovation.
In Denmark for example, out of 400 city heating companies, 340 are managed by citizen collectives. This is stimulated by the Danish government as these collectives are provided with favourable financing. It is clear that these kind of collectives are more widely supported and the heat network in Denmark is more popular than in The Netherlands. The Dutch can learn a lot from this. An added benifit is that this provides the necessary acceleration in the energy transition, but based on free will and not forced. As John Lennon said “power to the people”, but is this case Thermal power.
About this article
16 August 2019 / Author: Dr. Ir. René Cornelissen