Many in the heating industry are looking with interest at the developing situation in the Netherlands, where a series of earthquakes in the north of the country caused by over-extraction from the Groningen gas field have led to a groundswell of cross-sector support for the idea of reducing – or even entirely removing – the use of Dutch natural gas.
There are a number of policies and supporting mechanisms in place to encourage the move away from natural gas as a fuel for heating homes. The latest has been a well-publicised change to the Dutch Law regulating the gas network operators (‘The Gas Law’).
Are gas boilers banned in new build homes?
The short answer to this question is ‘no’. However, from 1st July 2018, the default situation for all new building permit applications is that the building will not be allowed to connect to the gas grid. Local authorities do have the power to grant exemptions from this rule, allowing some new build projects to have a gas connection, but the conditions under which local authorities can grant these exemptions will become stricter with time. Ultimately it will be increasingly harder to install gas boilers in the Netherlands.
What will replace them?
The heat pump market in the Netherlands has been one of the fastest-growing in Europe in recent years, and this latest change to the gas law will be a further boost. We expect heat pumps to take an increasing share of the new build market, with district heat and biomass making up the majority of the rest of the market. The question remains as to the future of hydrogen and biogas in the Dutch gas networks and whether or not they are exempt from the gas connection ban.
We also expect sales of ‘gas-less’ technologies to grow in the existing building stock, supported by the new regulations and a cross-industry call for a ban on stand-alone gas boilers in favour of hybrid solutions in the existing building stock by 2021. As we saw at VSK trade fair in February, a large number of heating manufacturers are ready with hybrid heat pump-gas boiler products, should such a ban come into place. Other gas appliance manufacturers should work hard to make the case for higher efficiency ‘beyond the gas boiler’ heating technologies as part of the possible future energy mix, for example through providing local distributed generation to support the increasing number of heat pumps.
What does this mean for the rest of Europe?
In the UK and Europe Delta-ee are continuing to deliver impactful and critical insight on the future of gas. The Netherlands is a special case at the moment, and we are watching to see how other countries to react to this speed up in ambition to move away from natural gas.
Further details on this topic are also available to subscribers to our Electrification of Heat Service.
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