Towards a more sustainable heat system in South-Holland
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In this report the possibilities of sustainable heat supply in South-Holland are reviewed. The province of South-Holland has set ambitious targets to reach 20 PJ sustainable heat in 2020, which is defined by the province as renewable heat plus waste heat. On the longer term a sustainable heat and cold share of 50% in 2050 is aimed for. This is based on opportunities such as a large demand for heat, a large availability of waste heat and the specific opportunities in the horticultural sector in the region. However the low existing sustainable heat consumption in South-Holland as well as the existence of numerous barriers to the implementation of sustainable heat means there is a long way to go. After analysing the existing and planned sustainable heat and cold projects and taking into account the business as usual growth of different sustainable heat technologies, it is clear that reaching the 2020 targets will indeed be extremely difficult. By continuing on the current track just over half of the targeted amount will be reached, if all planned projects follow through. In order to increase the chance of meeting the targets, focus must lie with those areas in which large potentials can be reached, such as geothermal energy in the horticultural sector. However, the rest of the technologies and sectors must not be forgotten. In the end the targets can only be reached if all different technologies fulfil their share and if all sectors become significantly more sustainable. This being said, large shares of the total heat demand are unfitted for sustainable heat supply because of practical barriers, for instance retrofitting existing buildings with sustainable heat technologies is impractical and expensive. This must be taken into account and policy should initially be targeted at those shares of the build environment that are more suitable, such as large office buildings and apartment complexes to be build. Considering the long term sustainable heat targets merely stimulating the separate sustainable heat technologies is not sufficient, instead a transition to a sustainable heat regime must be aimed for. In order to keep on the right track towards this transition, but also to increase the effectiveness of policies on the short term, an analysis of the barriers in place should be the starting point to base policy upon. By basing this barriers analysis on transition and innovation theories the focus will lie with transformative change, this reduces the risk of policies that provide short term gains without constructively adding to a long term solution for the problems resulting from fossil fuel use. This barriers analysis takes into account the limits of the role of the province by acknowledging the existence of barriers that cannot be influenced, such as the low price of fossil fuels as a result of the externalization of negative costs. The most important barriers are found to be the complexity of the heat network, the lack of coordination between policies and activities on different governmental and sectoral levels and the lack of focus on the demand side of the heat system. There are of course more barriers that play a role and most barriers are to some extent interconnected. For instance the lack of sustainable heat infrastructure can partly be overcome by targeting this problem in association with other parties, reverting back to the complex network barrier. In order to reduce these barriers, measures and policies need to be implemented. The program office that is set up in South-Holland must be used to unite the complex network, by recognizing shared goals and profitable projects, the network can be better used to realise and promote sustainable heat. By aligning provincial policies with the national government and municipalities in the province the aim to stimulate transformative change will be shared between parties and embedded in policies. This should reduce opposing policies and aid the development of long term stable policies towards a sustainable heat regime. Furthermore, by carrying out research into the demand side needs and perceptions, by increasing the promotion of sustainable heat and cold and by making sustainable heat better suited to the needs of users, the extent of sustainable heat in the built environment can be increased. Lastly practical barriers such as the lack of infrastructure should be overcome as much as possible, for instance by setting up a provincial guarantee scheme for geothermal energy and by supporting the development of local thermal grids. If the province would succeed in largely overcoming the barriers in place, a sustainable heat potential of over 18 PJ in 2020 and 48 PJ in 2050 can be reached. This is clearly in reach of reaching the provincial sustainable heat targets, reaching this potential would form a good starting point towards significantly more sustainable heat in South-Holland in a way that is supportive of a system transition. However, for the province of South-Holland it is considered foremost important not to focus too much on the actual number of PJs but to focus more on the process of sustainable heat supply and the desired transition. The output of sustainable heat depends to a large extent on external factors and barriers out of scope. By focusing not on the target but on the process, the province can clear the way for a transition towards a sustainable heat regime that can be reached over time by coupling efforts with other parties and by moving in the right direction together.