Successful area development is about more than just a future-proof energy system that can meet the need for heat and cold. Lower housing costs for end users and security of supply and affordability for project partners who stick their necks out are important pillars for getting a project realized. These insights were expressed during Eneco’s Heat and Cooling event. Tom Jessen, known from RTL and BNR Nieuwsradio, among others, provided depth and sharpening.
Heating Director Manja Thiry from Eneco launched the second edition of the event, this time on area development. An important topic to conclude to accelerate and exceed the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement: “In November, we already presented our One Planet plan. As Eneco, we want to be climate neutral in 2035, and we are working hard to do that, because there is still work to be done. something to achieve this. ” For example, energy projects must be designed and planned in the right way.
Arjen Ketting, architect at MVRDV and BREEAM-NL Expert, could tell more about this. He showed how the architectural firm works worldwide with challenging design assignments. Such as. in Luxembourg, which uses many times of its footprint in energy and materials. “We considered how we could improve this, for example in urban planning, mobility, nature and behavior change. We have developed a calculation tool with which you can press different buttons and see what influence your decisions have on your sustainability ambitions. If you choose a more compact city, you will have less mobility for commuting. And more nature can mean that there is less land available for residential or commercial construction. ”
Combination of opportunities and sustainability layers
An individual approach to the different starting points proved to be insufficient to achieve the climate goals. A combination of different options and sustainability layers was necessary: for example, by combining nature with livestock farming and connecting several nature layers with urbanization, the optimum becomes apparent. “In addition, all possible initiatives from the market must be continuously stimulated and supported,” explains Chain. “Only with this approach is it possible to drastically reduce the footprint and meet the climate goals.” The plan of attack is thus clearly outlined, but the real challenge lies in the organization of the measures and the approach. “We presented the idea to the Ministry of Economy in Luxembourg. They state that the idea is correct, but do not know where to start. They can not find the initial energy to start.”
So where is the key to giving a flying start to making an area more sustainable? “Give end users and energy consumers the opportunity to realize their dream themselves,” says Ketting, who conjures up images on screen of a development in Oosterwolde, Friesland. “For the development, we chose to take the residents themselves to responsibility. For sustainable energy production, which you can, for example, deliver individually or with your neighbors, but also for the infrastructure. It creates a high degree of independence, and it naturally brings with it challenges. The golden rule is that each lot is issued with all the features that the area has in it. This ensures a sustainable foundation. ” He contrasts this development with a more traditional approach, where the framework is sharper: Hyde Park in Hoofddorp. “This is a mix of functions such as offices and homes. It is an area where many ancient connections went through. We want to make sure that this becomes a dynamic place that divides the blocks into measurable units. With lively high plinths and optimal sunlight. ” He advises: “Make sure you work on a scale where you have enough mass to make it more sustainable but small enough to be understood by your stakeholders. Also, think carefully about how you can make your area smart and prepared for future developments. “
From pipe to integral
Laws and regulations can create or break the viability and feasibility of innovative energy projects. Lawyer Marjolein Dieperink from AKD Benelux Advokater also knows this, who, among other things, saw the heating law postponed (again) until 2023: “The law can stand in the way of the energy transition. We must therefore together look for smart solutions and system change and improvement. As a sector, we have always worked in a silo, but we need to operate more based on one vision. Even with the accumulation of legislation, we must come to a whole in a project. ”
An important prerequisite for successful energy and heating projects, according to her, is that the various stakeholders and stakeholders recognize the full life cycle and are aware of each other’s challenges and starting points. “Contracts are often about risk allocation, and especially for complex projects it is a question of looking for a balance,” says Dieperink. “That is why it is important to map the different interests throughout the life cycle. For example, the municipality often has a coordinating role and a long-term interest in the development. This is important for other parties, because if things go wrong, they must fix the solution. In the network of project partners, we find developers, companies, owners and customers, but also the heating company, network operators and industry with residual heat. ”
These parties have sometimes been on the move for three decades and are working on development. So much the more important to recognize uncertainties. “For example, is it clear whether the heat and cold source is available throughout its life?” continues Dieperink. “In addition, security of supply and affordability as well as speed and timing are important elements. Developers and heating companies also want investment security. Private parties need to invest and need security to make these long-term investments. “According to her, relevant questions to be asked and answered are, ‘Who owns the heating network?’ and ‘What happens in the event of bankruptcy?’, but also ‘What security is required in advance, and from whom and how secure is the return?’ “It also makes sense to consider the timing of investments and how to deal with construction delays,” she concludes.
After his presentation, Dieperink participated in an interactive panel discussion with Onno Dwars from Ballast Nedam Development, Paul van Dijk from Utrecht municipality and Avindre Ramnath from Eneco. The participants present not only discussed with the experts but also initiated a discussion with each other. For example, about the first statement ‘The municipalities have too little knowledge about the energy market’, to which there was a great response. By Van Dijk, among others: “I disagree with the statement because we think we have a lot of knowledge about the energy market. Our colleagues perform analyzes and calculations on energy infrastructure and participate in discussions with ministries. The level of knowledge differs from municipality to municipality, and we always need the market for innovation, development and knowledge sharing. ” Dieperink adds: “The market and the municipality complement each other, so grab the right things from both sides, but do not sit on each other’s chairs. I am convinced that the level of knowledge in the municipalities can be increased further, but do not go too far and try not to do everything yourself. “Ramnath agrees:” Challenges for municipalities lie mainly in maintaining affordability and implementing sustainability. Because there is a lot of uncertainty when it comes to legislation and rules. That is why good contact and long-term involvement between energy companies and municipalities is crucial. ”
Another sound came from Dwars. He wondered if we are prepared for the new reality due to the changing energy market. “For many end users, it’s about affordable energy costs. We do not react enough to that. As a sector, we strive to optimize consumption, while committing ourselves to working towards a situation of consumption reduction. For this we need to adjust the incentives in the system, because at the moment they are still dealing with optimizing a business case. We need to become less dependent on the energy market and less individualistic. ”
He thus bridges the second statement ‘Developers go too far for their own interests.’ According to Van Dijk, this is not (always) the case: “Some project developers set the bar higher than the legal ambitions, and the municipality is proud of that. The intermediate bracket focuses on the standards and achieves them. Then you have another part to look for. At the same time, we want to give as much freedom as possible to give the market the opportunity to show what they are good at. ” Dwars replied: “We see an example of how things can be done differently in Amsterdam municipality, where there is more focus on the end user to ensure lower energy costs. In our projects, we strive for lower housing costs and want to do more than what is contained in the building order. There must be more incentives and the importance of reducing housing costs must be clarified. There is also a task for the municipalities from granting permits, but we must also challenge the market to come up with affordable tariffs and initiate a system change. ”