Signing of Green Deal first concrete step after Energy Agenda

On 8 March 2017, Regional Minister Han Weber - on behalf of the 12 provinces - along with Minister Kamp of Economic Affairs, 30 municipalities and five grid operators signed a Green Deal, enabling municipalities to heat homes in other ways than by natural gas. Signing this Green Deal is the first concrete step in the development of the Energy Agenda, in which, during a presentation in December last year, the Cabinet outlined the route to a low-carbon society in 2050.  The parties signing the Green Deal will be supported in their efforts by social organizations and companies that have aligned themselves with the deal as a partner.

The energy consumption in the urban areas is almost 30% of the total Dutch energy consumption. Han Weber, Regional Minister for Zuid-Holland, who signed the deal on behalf of the 12 provinces: "This Green Deal clears the way for provinces to proceed with the thirty municipalities that aim to make existing districts free of natural gas, and intend to replace the natural gas by another heat source. In this way, we will utilize the knowledge from our provincial heat plans and expand that knowledge by sharing the experience gained from this Green Deal, to make the crucial energy transition succeed.

Energy Transition for 7 million households

The energy transition will affect the actual number of 7 million Dutch households. The majority of citizens will heat their homes and prepare their food in a different way, without the use of natural gas, for which a good and affordable alternative must be offered. Moreover, people must become aware of the value and necessity of these changes. This is a major social challenge, involving an important task for the government, the local and regional authorities, companies and social organizations, as stipulated in the agreement signed today. All municipalities involved in the Green Deal, have by now prepared initiatives to make existing districts gas-free in consultation with the residents. The municipality of Amsterdam, for instance, intends to designate 10,000 existing homes to be converted to gas-free living by 1 January 2018.

Green Deal contributes to innovation

The Paris Climate Agreement 2015 includes the agreement to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius, and aims to limit it to 1.5 degrees. In the Energy Agenda, the Cabinet translates this international ambition into concrete measures with which The Netherlands can achieve the energy transition in the coming decades.

New construction, for instance, should be (almost) energy neutral from 2021, and the remaining heat demand must be met without natural gas as much as possible. The greater challenge, however, concerns the heat supply in existing buildings. The technology to use other sustainable heat sources for heating may be available, but is not yet used on a large scale in existing districts that use natural gas. Refining the technology, financial solutions and new cooperation models are needed in that respect. The initiatives that have now become possible with this Green Deal will make a major contribution to these (social) innovations.