Minister commissions research on phasing out gas from Dutch homes


Economic affairs minister Erik Wiebes has asked officials to investigate how gas-powered central heating systems can be phased out in the Netherlands.

Some 90% of Dutch homes are heated by gas but the government wants to slash this to meet targets on cutting fossil fuel usage set down in the Paris agreement on climate change.

However, there are many obstacles to getting rid of gas, in particular the cost and shortage of trained engineers to fit alternatives, the Volkskrant said on Monday.

Heat pumps, which extract heat from the air or from ground water, are seen as one viable alternative although they do not work with radiators and are extremely expensive to fit. Just 10% of new central heating systems installed last year were heat pumps.

Other options include solar panels, combination boilers and boilers which are powered by wood chips or other biomass.

Last year, Amsterdam city council published a plan to rid the city of gas-fired cooking and central heating by 2050.

The city has plans to build 50,000 new homes within the next 10 years and none will have gas heating or cooking facilities. Instead, the homes will be heated by surplus heat generated by industry. Some 70,000 homes in the city are already on district heating networks.

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