Dutch municipalities aim high in energy transition

Dutch municipalities hold high ambitions when it comes to sustainability. This is the conclusion of a report released this week by Dutch consultancy BMC Advies.

For the report, the policy plans and coalition agreements, resulting from the municipal elections held in March this year, of 371 municipalities were analysed. The focus was on the objectives of each municipality in the area of climate and energy and in particular their ambitions for onshore wind, rooftop pv and solar farms. The report was performed by order of Nuon.

Of the municipalities, 141 expressed they want to become energy-neutral and 91 even want to become climate-neutral. Even though the coalition agreements are formulated in basic lines, half of them do contain concrete ambitions for the different renewable energy technologies.

Wind poses biggest challenge onshore
One of the challenges in achieving the energy transition is spatial planning as renewable energy generation uses more space than fossil fuels. According to the report, onshore wind poses the biggest challenge. Even though onshore wind farms use up less space than solar farms, only 2% of the municipalities oppose against solar farms while 13% of the municipalities are opposed to onshore wind. A lack of social acceptance and a negative effect on nature or agricultural lands are some of the objections mentioned.

When analysing the data, BMC also looked at the difference based on urban character. More large urban municipalities express ambitions to become energy-, or climate-neutral than low or non-urban municipalities (67% and 64% against 58% and 41% respectively). When it comes to achieving the energy transition both need to work together. Residual heat from urban areas can be used to electrify greenhouses in rural areas while wind farms in open areas can be used to supply urban areas. The synchronisation will become one of the main challenges for the regional energy strategies (RES).

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