Most Dutch households currently use natural gas to, for example, heat their homes. The gas has been mainly produced in the Groningen gas field, in the northeastern part of the Netherlands. However, the exploitation of Groningen has caused increasing earthquakes and damage to the city and nearby areas since the late 1980s. Because of this, the Netherlands has decided that all its neighbourhoods will become natural gas-free by 2050. The case study examines the transition towards natural gas-free homes in the Netherlands.
Residents are replacing natural gas with more sustainable options
The transition from natural gas to more sustainable solutions requires neighbourhood residents to be willing to make investments and renovate their homes. In the Netherlands, municipalities have a leading role in making neighbourhoods, districts and communities gas-free. In the inter-administrative Natural Gas-Free Neighbourhoods program (Programma Aardgasvrije Wijken, PAW), the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Change, the Interprovincial Consultation, the Association of Water Boards and the Association of Netherlands Municipalities are working together to provide municipalities and parties involved with the best possible support in the natural gas-free task.
In the coming years, together with municipalities, the Dutch government plans to make about 100 existing neighbourhoods natural gas-free. We will study Dutch neighbourhoods, to see what factors and conditions encourage their residents to replace natural gas with sustainable solutions, such as individual electrical heating pumps, collective heat networks, green gas and/or hydrogen.
We will the emergence of energy citizenship in the Netherlands
The transition towards natural gas-free homes has received quite some media attention in the Netherlands. According to a study in 2020, more than half of the Dutch population was (very) positive about the government’s intended to switch from natural gas to sustainable energy.
In the case study, we will investigate the barriers and drivers of the emergence of energy citizenship within Dutch neighbourhoods by conducting interviews and questionnaires with a representative sample of citizens of the Netherlands. We wish to see residents advocating for natural gas-free options and leading the transition towards more sustainable solutions. The case study is led by TNO.