End reliance on natural gas: Dutch gov't invests in geothermal technology

In the coming years the Cabinet is going to invest in ensuring that Dutch homes and business are less reliant on natural gas for heating, instead heating properties with renewable heat or leftover heat.

This is according to a letter that Minister Henk Kamp of Economic Affairs wrote to the Tweede Kamer, lower house of parliament, on Tuesday. Nearly 60 percent of all the energy consumed in the Netherlands, is used in the generation of heat. Currently natural gas is used for this in almost all of the Netherlands.

According to Minister Kamp, a lot of the generated heat is still lost and can be used more efficiently, for example by using leftover heat from the industry to heat households and businesses. "This saves energy and causes up to 75 percent less CO2 emissions compared to a household with a central heating system." Kamp said. Dutch company Nerdalize has come up with an innovative way to use leftover heat by placing computer servers in households instead of in conventional data centers, and using the heat generated by the servers to warm up the house.

"This is a good time to modernize the heat supply and to make it more sustainable, as the gas network in many cities is in need of renovation or replacement. We are also preparing for a reduction in gas production and using Dutch gas differently in the future." Kamp said.

The government is currently working on reforming the laws and regulations for heat supply. They are working on a new market model in which sustainable heat will resemble the markets for electricity and gas. In the coming time, the government will also invest more in the development of heat projects. The Cabinet recently made 3.6 million euros available for exploratory drilling to extract heat from the deep earth in Westland.

The residents of Groningen at least will be very happy if the country could be less reliant on natural gas. The province has been suffering with increasingly powerful earthquakes caused by gas extraction in the last few years. A study by Shell and NAM, the frequency and severity of the earthquakes in the province will only increase as the gas fields grow empty.