Zuid-Holland municipalities opt for natural gas-free districts with European funds

Nine (9) municipalities in Zuid-Holland want 10 natural gas-free districts. To start this up, they are asking the European Investment Bank (EIB) for a joint subsidy of approximately €3 million. By combining their forces and with the Province as secretary, the municipalities have a considerable chance of being eligible for these funds. The following municipalities are involved: Alphen aan de Rijn, The Hague, Gorinchem, Kaag and Braassem, Katwijk, Rijswijk, Rotterdam, Schiedam and Zoeterwoude.

Preparations costs money, too.

Sustainable districts? Yes please! But how to go about that? To jointly make the right choices with the residents, the nine Zuid-Holland municipalities want to prepare a thorough cost-benefit analysis of the various options. Sustainable energy supplies need to be feasible, affordable and future-proof. It takes a lot of preliminary work to make the optimum choice, and that comes with a price tag, too. The EIB has created the so-called Elena-fund to support authorities in these matters.

Everybody to join in the switch to clean energy

Berend Potjer, the Regional Minister on Energy, is optimistic: “I am glad that nine Zuid-Holland municipalities want to take the lead here. That they, together with the residents, will find out how their districts can stop relying on natural gas and to actually achieve that. This is how we can meet the residents’ needs optimally and won't just work on the energy transition, but also on improving the district.”

€3 million for the preliminary work

To be eligible for EIB subsidy, a large investment – at least €60 million – has to be involved. That is why the nine municipalities in Zuid-Holland joined forces in 2019 and looked to collaborate with the Province. After listing the conditions and options, the Province can now apply to the EIB for a subsidy. At stake: €3 million for the preliminary work to make 10 districts sustainable. That includes the costs of the participation process, cost-benefit analyses and drafting the implementation contracts.

Elena conditions

To be eligible for the Elena-subsidy, the plans need to be actually implemented after this preliminary work. That is why the EIB attaches the condition that the work in the homes, pipes and heat sources has to commence within 3 years and will have led to investments of at least €60 million. Another condition is that the EIB wants to do business with only one party, which is why the Province of Zuid-Holland will act as applicant and secretary.