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There’s been a lot of talk about the potential for ‘Heat as a service’ & ‘Comfort as service’ (HaaS & CaaS) to revolutionise Europe’s heating markets, reaching more end-users with new, potentially low-carbon, heating appliances. While our research has turned up a number of HaaS-like offerings, so far, we’ve only found one example of what we consider to be ‘true’ heat as a service: Eneco, in the Netherlands.
On reflection, this isn’t surprising. The Netherlands has all the right ingredients that make it the key market where innovative, ‘new heat’ offerings are likely to emerge, and ultimately to succeed. The 7 key has are:
The Netherlands has set some of the most ambitious targets in Europe to phase out natural gas in heating (and elsewhere), aiming to be “natural gas free” by 2050. This is no small ask in a country where, today, almost 90% of the >7million homes use natural gas - usually via an individual boiler (or “CV-ketel”) as their main source of heating and hot water.
Since the gas free target was set, heat pump sales have grown rapidly, increasing numbers of new homes are being built without a gas connection, and the government subsidy supporting renewable heating installations – the ISDE – proved so popular, it had to be closed to new applications part-way through 2019.
Energy communities is emerging as one of the hot topics of the 2020s in the energy world. This has been accelerated by the current Covid-19 crisis, which has made the need to find local solutions to global problems even more pronounced. Many of the discussions around community energy are centred around electricity - but are we missing an opportunity by not talking about the benefits of a multi-vector approach which integrates electricity together with heat (and ultimately other vectors like mobility and hydrogen)? In this blog, we will focus on the opportunities for heat to be at the heart of energy communities.
The transition from “old heat” to “new heat” is making a community energy approach to heat more and more appropriate – and potentially more valuable. We believe that working directly with communities on local heat decarbonisation strategies will be critical to the success of heating product and service providers in the future. Energy communities with heat at their heart are not just the future – they are already here, and they are a growing opportunity not to be missed by the energy and heating industries.
The Netherlands is at the forefront of the move to decarbonise the European heating sector through electrification of heat, driven by a policy goal to phase out natural gas. In the Netherlands, this drive has been strengthened by a series of earthquakes in the north of the country that have been caused by natural gas extraction. This is quite a shift as, similarly to the UK, the Netherlands has previously been a country dominated by gas heating. 85-90% of homes currently use natural gas as their main heat source.
Cate Lyon, manager of Delta-EE's Electrification of Heat research, says that building regulations have been the key to kick-starting the electrification of heat in new build housing.
In my last blog, I explained why I think now is the time for air/air heat pumps (A/A HP). There are strong opportunities in the residential heating market in Europe. But in our conversations across the heating and energy industry, we still meet challenges from those not yet engaged in A/A HPs. Here are some of the major myths and challenges we hear - and why we still think A/A HPs should not be ignored.
Challenge #1: “A/AHPs are good for cooling but suboptimal as a primary heating solution”.
The transition from ‘old’ to ‘new’ heat is disrupting the market in several ways, creating new business models, customer propositions and new technology ecosystems, as well as opening up opportunities for new market players and sales channels. In part one of this two-part blog series, we discussed how new technology ecosystems and connectivity are shaping the market.
For this second and final part of the heat blog series we consider customer propositions and new market entrants and how they will impact the heating market.
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