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Towards a Climate-neutral Energy System in the Netherlands


This paper presents two different scenarios for the energy system of the Netherlands that achieve the Dutch government’s national target of near net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in 2050. Using the system optimisation model OPERA, the authors have analysed the technology, sector and cost implications of the assumptions underlying these scenarios. While the roles of a number of key energy technology and emission mitigation options are strongly dependent on the scenario and cost assumptions, the analysis yields several common elements that appear in both scenarios and that consistently appear under differing cost assumptions. For example, one of the main options for the decarbonisation of the Dutch energy system is electrification of energy use in end-use sectors and for the production of renewable hydrogen with electrolysers. As a result the level of electricity generation in 2050 will be three to four times higher than present generation levels. Ultimately, renewable energy – particularly from wind turbines and solar panels – is projected to account for the vast majority of electricity generation, around 99% in 2050. Imbalances between supply and demand resulting from this variable renewable electricity production can be managed via flexibility options, including demand response and energy storage. Hydrogen also becomes an important energy carrier, notably for transportation and in industry. If import prices are lower than costs of domestic production from natural gas with CCS or through electrolysis from renewable electricity (2.4–2.7 €/kgH2), the use of hydrogen increases, especially in the built environment.

Funding source: The authors would like to thank the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy of the Netherlands for its financial support of the research underlying the results presented in this article. Any views expressed in this paper, or possible errors, are exclusively those of the authors
Related subjects: Policy & Socio-Economics
Countries: Italy ; Netherlands

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