Reports & Publications

Environmental Data Compendium: Energy consumption by households in NL, 1990-2018

Environmental Data Compendium: Energy consumption by households in NL, 1990-2018

This indicator describes the development of household energy consumption (all energy carriers), excluding transport consumption. Read more …..

Household energy consumption per inhabitant (temperature corrected): between 1990 and 2018, energy consumption per inhabitant fell by 19 percent from 32.8 to 26.5 GJ per inhabitant.
As a result of energy-saving measures such as insulation and the installation of high-efficiency boilers, domestic natural gas consumption decreased by 28 percent from 27 GJ per inhabitant in 1990 to 19.5 GJ per inhabitant in 2018.

In 2018, household electricity consumption per inhabitant was 16 percent higher than in 1990. The share of electricity in total energy consumption per inhabitant also increased between 1990 and 2018, from 11.6 to almost 17 percent.

Dutch Climate Agreement

Dutch Climate Agreement

Enough has been written about the recently reached Climate Agreement and in whichever article you analyse, because many people see things from their own perspective, we discover a number of common threads:

  • There are now more action-oriented plans, even though not all proposals are adequate in our perception. But it is a start and let’s get started as time is running out.
  • Built Environment: by 2050, 7 million homes and 1 million buildings must be off natural gas. This means insulating and using sustainable heat and electricity. As a first step, the Dutch Cabinet states, that the first 1.5 million existing homes must be made sustainable by 2030. In 2021, the municipalities will know which district is next, and when. Residents must be involved. So we are talking here about residents- activation, participation, and communication.
  • Agriculture and land use: To be climate neutral in agriculture and land use in 2050, a lot must be done. Part of the greenhouse gas emissions cannot be avoided. Cows produce methane. The sector also captures CO2: in trees, soil and grass. That in turn contributes to the reduction target. Many parties therefore have a role to play in the approach; farmers, site managers, food processors, suppliers, supermarkets and NGOs. So also here a clear bottom-up involvement of organizations is essential.
  • Electricity: In 2030, 70% of all electricity will come from renewable sources. This will be done with wind turbines at sea, on land and with solar panels on roofs and in solar parks. The demand for electricity is growing; eg. cars become electric, the industry opts for clean electricity, buildings are freed from natural gas and will therefore need more electricity. Many measures are needed to keep delivery reliable. And the recent experienced problems that network operators cannot connect new solar parks to the network sufficiently and quickly enough is in stark contrast to this clear objective. We should realise that during the last 10+ years sufficient attention has been requested for smart and sufficient network connections due to the implementation of sustainability measures. Hence effective cooperation is needed between network operators, energy cooperations and neighbourhood associations.
  • Industry: In 2050, the industry will be circular and will virtually no longer emit any greenhouse gases. The factories will then run on sustainable electricity from sun and wind or energy from geothermal energy, hydrogen and biogas. The raw materials come from biomass, residual flows and gases. The residual heat is used by industry itself or it is supplied to horticulture or buildings and homes. In addition to being an energy user, the industry is also a producer and buffer of energy. By 2030, the industry must already emit considerably less CO2. In this context, there is much talk about CO2 charges, including the current functioning of the ETS system. However, there is still a lot of innovation needed and, among other things, subsidies are needed. In addition, it is essential not to lose sight of the level playing field of the industry at the international level. After all, we are not alone. We can still be the best kid in the classroom, which can ultimately result in little value for everyone.
  • Mobility: A lot of effort is being put into creating a sustainable mobility system: mobility without emissions (without harmful exhaust gases), with excellent attainability and accessible to citizens and businesses. There are still quite a number discussions in this area; eg. do the latest plans provide enough guidance and direction? We will continue to inform readers about this; reference is made, among other things, to the Formula E team’s response to the Cabinet’s proposal due to a downward revision of the action perspective; read more ….

Read more about the Climate Agreement….

IEA: tracking clean energy progress

IEA: tracking clean energy progress

The IEA is tracking clean energy progress, by assessing the latest information on how critical energy technologies and sectors are contributing to global clean energy transition. It shows that 7 technologies are on track (eg. solar PV, energy storage), 19 require more efforts (eg. offshore wind, hydropower), and 13 are not on track (eg. geothermal, CCUS in industry & transformation). Read more ….

IEA publishes interesting information on Energy storage, EVs, and RD&D Budget Database for Energy technologies

IEA publishes interesting information on Energy storage, EVs, and RD&D Budget Database for Energy technologies

According to IEA, energy storage deployment reached a record level in 2018, nearly doubling from 2017.
Read more ….

Year 2018 was another record-breaking year for global electric car sales (1.98 million), raising total global stock to 5.12 million, according to IEA analyses. Sales increased 68% in 2018….
Read more ….

A very interesting Energy Technology RD&D Budget Database by the IEA allows users to track trends in spending by energy technologies in IEA countries back to 1977.
Read more …..

CBS (statistics) Netherlands data on natural gas extraction and energy consumption from renewable sources in NL

CBS (statistics) Netherlands data on natural gas extraction and energy consumption from renewable sources in NL

According to Dutch CBS: Natural gas revenues from gas extraction in NL amount to nearly 417 billion euros.
Read more ….

According to Dutch CBS: in 2018, renewable energy sources accounted for 7.4 percent of total Dutch energy consumption, up from 6.6 percent one year previously.
Solar energy consumption (for electricity and heat) increased by 40 percent. The use of energy from wind only increased by 4 percent (mainly due to onshore wind capacity).
Read more ….

Ecological footprint: action required

Ecological footprint: action required

A recent article by the World Economic Forum really kept me thinking about a subject, which already had been on my mind for quite some time, but it reminded me again of our collective responsibility: how to better manage our ecological footprint.

The article (click here for more information) states regarding the global picture: “Earth Overshoot Day – the point at which humans use more than the world’s resources – takes place earlier and earlier each year. This year it will fall in July. Up until the 1970s, the planet was able to produce more than we consumed on an annual basis: now we are using up resources at a rate of 1.7 Earths a year”.

Viewing the graphs in the article, I must admit I’m quite worried and also shocked that there hasn’t been any real progress to be seen during the last few years.

That we focus on CO2 footprint reduction, in order to limit global warming, is great and essential. Yes, our circular economy thinking is becoming more and more part of our daily lives but does it really encompass all aspects? Shouldn’t our entire personal focus be much more about looking at our own ecological footprint and what our behaviour results into?

To be honest: I need to rethink what this all means for my personal life. We take things for granted, as I live in a part of the world where there are no shortages. Except perhaps the somewhat restricted and smart use of drinking water in case we experience a hot summer, like we did last year.

Shouldn’t we develop more insight into our daily life patterns and what this all means for our ecological footprint. We started to link products now with CO2 emissions over its product lifecycle. From creation, and usage to end of life situation. But to be perfectly honest, we are only in the early stages yet. Yes, I know that when I drive my car, what the CO2 emission has been. The public discussions on meat and its environmental impact is becoming larger. But to know the CO2 numbers for, for example, eating a peanut-butter sandwich few times a week is another thing. You may consider the latter a ‘silly example’, but it illustrates that we must make this subject of ‘ecological footprint’ very concrete and approach it in a very pragmatic manner. And to be honest: we still have a long way to go. So practical guidance is required. And I’m realistic enough to see that this will be a difficult journey, viewing how the Netherlands is struggling with the energy transition and what this means for a normal household.

Hence our, or at least my focus on this subject must change. How to do this most effectively? I’m not sure yet, but at least I will try to do my best. The difficult part will be to change our living habits. The minimum action is to write about it and to create discussion and hence awareness. Not by pointing fingers, but by engaging each other in information-sharing encounters. Because by knowing and realising, we can act better.

Ideally each product should have, besides the obvious euro value, a CO2 value and an Eco value. I recently mentioned to a colleague: let’s use the analogy of the airmiles card, and see if we can visualise each product into actual environmental contributions and savings. We have the technologies to support us, so nothing is stopping us, except perhaps our own willingness.

Note: The author of this article, Thijs Aarten, is involved with various transition projects.