Heat and heat grids

A warm living room, a warm shower, a warm greenhouse with tomatoes — about 40% of the energy we use is spent on heating. A sustainable way of heating we can expect to increasingly see in the future is heating using a heat grid (also called ‘district heating’). This requires a new infrastructure and new laws and regulations. No one is as experienced in large energy infrastructures as we are, which is why we are helping our partners devise and install large-scale heat grids.

What is a heat grid?

A heat grid is a network of pipes through which water heated using a renewable source, like geothermal heat or residual heat from industry, flows. The heat grid can heat homes, and also provide heating for commercial greenhouses for example. We have known for a long time that these heat grids really work, as Denmark has been using district heating for decades already.

Heat grids and the energy transition

Geothermal heat and residual heat are there for the taking, so capturing and using this heat is an excellent replacement for burning natural gas. Installing the infrastructure for a heat grid is expensive however. Another problem is the loss of heat during the water’s transport over long distances. For this reason, heat grids will mainly play a role in heavily populated areas in the energy transition. In a city, the investment in infrastructure is lower in relation to the number of homes and buildings being heated.

Gasunie and heat grids

Much still needs to be done before we can make large-scale use of residual heat and geothermal heat in the Netherlands. The heat grids need to be installed, and current laws and regulations need to be amended. Right now, heat grids are subject to different regulations to those that apply to gas and electricity networks. This makes these grids relatively expensive to install and manage, which is why we want to invest in large heat grids. We are applying our knowledge and experience to this important step in the energy transition, making it easier for others to follow.