9 Sep 2019

Sustainable heat for The Hague and greenhouse horticulture region one step closer

The delivery of sustainable heat to households in and around The Hague and the greenhouse horticulture sector in the Westland region using residual heat from sources in the port of Rotterdam is gaining momentum. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy today announced that energy network operator Gasunie will be responsible for the further developmentof the first phase of a main heat transmission grid in the province of Zuid-Holland. The delivered heat will replace the use of natural gas in homes, businesses and greenhouses. The resulting reduction of CO2 emissions will contribute significantly to achieving the climate objectives. It is expected that the first deliveries of heat to customers will take place in 2023.

Heat project in Zuid-Holland: ‘Pipeline through the Middle’

At present, Gasunie is continuing the development of the 'Pipeline through the Middle'. This is a district heating infrastructure from the port of Rotterdam to The Hague with a branch line starting at Delft for the delivery of heat to the greenhouse horticulture region. In addition, the new Vondelingenplaat pipeline is anticipated to supply residual heat from various port-based companies. The Port of Rotterdam Authority and Gasunie are working together on this development.  

The heat transmission pipeline will be a regulated transmission grid that can be accessed by various suppliers with Gasunie as the anticipated independent heat transmission operator. The initiative for the development of the Pipeline through the Middle was taken by Eneco a number of years ago. The associated activities are now transferred to Gasunie.

In the new construction, Eneco will concentrate on the delivery of heat, in particular to households in and around The Hague. A variety of parties wishing to use the transmission grid will be able to access the Pipeline through the Middle, including suppliers of heat sources and companies delivering heat to households in the surrounding municipalities. The parties involved are expected to be able to make a final investment decision in 2020.

National government actively involved

In a Letter to Parliament, the Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, Mr Wiebes, states that it is wise to develop a regional heat transmission grid in the province of Zuid-Holland in view of the long-term sustainability objective. Mr Wiebes announced that the "national government will be actively involved" in the realisation of the main infrastructure. The government will provide support for the project to the amount of €15 million in 2019 and will make €75 million available for the period 2020-2030.

Ulco Vermeulen, director Participations & Business Development Gasunie: ”Heat grids are an essential component in the sustainable energy mix of 2050. This initiative makes it possible to reduce CO2 emissions in the province of Zuid-Holland in a relatively short period of time. The appointment as independent transmission grid operator is in line with the public interest of using our knowledge and expertise to contribute to achieving the climate objectives. It is also in line with our ambition to develop into a comprehensive open access energy infrastructure company. In addition natural gas and green gas, we focus on the transportation of hydrogen, LNG and CO2 and will now also offer parties non-discriminatory access to the delivery of heat.”

Kees-Jan Rameau, Chief Strategic Growth Officer of Eneco: “Having initiated this process, we are pleased that our project is widely embraced. In our new role as user of the Pipeline through the Middle, we will offer sustainable heat to our existing customers in and around The Hague. We are also working on increasing the number of sustainable heat customers in the province of Zuid-Holland substantially. This is in line with our ambition of a transition to sustainable energy in the Netherlands.”  

Allard Castelein, CEO of the Port of Rotterdam Authority: “Being able to use residual industrial heat requires new infrastructure. With support from the national government, we are now taking an important step towards the development of a regional heat grid. The heat that is available in the port area is sufficient to fulfil the heat demand of 500,000 households and a significant part of the greenhouse horticulture region. This can result in an annual reduction of CO2 emissions by 2 to 3 million tons.”

Sufficient supply

A main heat transmission grid is a pipeline filled with hot water. It leads to central locations where energy companies collect the heat and then deliver it to customer by means of a more finely meshed network of pipelines.

The Pipeline through the Middle will have a capacity of 250 MW with which it will fulfil part of the heat demand in and around The Hague and the Westland greenhouse horticulture region. The supply of residual heat in the port of Rotterdam is more than sufficient to also fulfil a future increase in heat demand.

In the meantime, industries are working on improving the sustainability of production processes. This will still generate sustainable residual heat that can be used for heating households and businesses. Heat grids are future-proof, because industry will always generate sufficient heat.