Friday 27 May 2022

Energy transition off course as sale of boilers goes up: study

Gas central heating boilers are ‘too attractive’ as a source of heat and this is hindering the government’s drive towards a speedy energy transition, according to research by grid operators Alliander and Stedin and environmental organisation Natuur & Milieu.

The study found that the number of gas-fired boilers sold last year rose by 3%, despite the government’s 2017 pledge to scale down the use of gas to comply with the terms of the Paris climate agreement. The Netherlands is supposed to be completely gas-free by 2050.

‘The outcome of the study came as a surprise. The use of gas needs to be phased out and homes with a new boiler will be using gas for the next 15 years. This is not a good development,’ Natuur & Milieu director Marjolein Demmers told broadcaster NOS.

Demmers said important steps had been taken this year to discourage the use of gas, such as the introduction of a higher tax on gas and abolishing compulsory access to gas in new housing projects.

Demmers also said no building permits should be given out to housing projects using gas.  ‘The alternative, the heat pump, is much cheaper in the end,’ NOS quotes her as saying.

The sale of heat pumps –a much-touted alternative for boilers – was up by 44% in 2016 but slumped to 15% in 2017 as home owners criticised the uncertainty about who would foot the bill and cited potential problems with noise.

Annual research

The grid operators commissioned the study, which will take place annually, to find out how quickly the transition to all-electricity households is taking place.

‘We know a lot about energy but not about how many heat pumps are being sold. If a large number of people decide to buy one the grid will have to be weighted. We need to know how fast the transition is happening so we know how quickly we have to adapt the grid,’ Alliander spokesman Jelle Wils told the broadcaster.

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