Eindhoven city council is considering investing millions of euros in developing city heating schemes in older parts of the city, in an effort to ensure residents are not confronted with high bills as the use of gas-fired heating is phased out.
City heating schemes, which use heat generated in biomass power stations or residue heat from industry, have a key role in the Netherlands’ plans to stop the use of gas in private homes by 2050.
Private companies and developers are likely to take responsibility for city heating schemes in new residential areas. But the high cost of laying pipes in the inner city make it crucial that Eindhoven itself has a role as a public partner, officials say.
Heat is currently provided by two biomass power stations, but officials agree that using wood chips to generate warmth is not a sustainable solution. The issue is also politically sensitive, and pressure has been mounting on national and regional governments to look for greener options.
Unlike Holland Metropole partners Amsterdam and Rotterdam, Eindhoven does not have heavy industry producing heat which can also be tapped. However, research is also underway into the option of using thermal heat from either ground or waste water as a longer-term alternative.
The Netherlands is committed to phasing out the use of natural gas in private homes and industry in an effort to reduce greenhouse gases. New residential developments no longer have to be connected to the gas grid by law. Eindhoven officials expect city heating schemes to be an option for between 10% and 50% of the city’s homes.