Energy planning in Groningen

Energy Transition Plans on district level in Groningen

A core issue for the INTENSSS-PA Regional Living Lab in Groningen is transforming the energy supply to all buildings in the municipality from natural gas heating system to sustainable heating 

The Municipality of Groningen aims to be energy neutral and natural-gas free by 2035. One of the major challenges in reaching this goal is transforming all buildings in the municipality from a natural gas heating system towards a sustainable heating system. This challenge is major, because of the variety in typology of buildings, different modes of ownership and different characteristics of buildings.

If the built environment has to be energy-neutral in 20 years, that has huge consequences for the houses, schools, offices, hospitals and shops in the municipality. 2035 still seems far away. However, a great effort and large investments are required to build the environment to become energy-neutral.

When focussing on houses, Groningen has approximately 101.00 households, currently responsible for 30% of the total energy usage in the city. What all approximately 101.000 houses in Groningen have in common is that they are now connected to the natural gas infrastructure. One of the characteristics of the gas-based heating network is that it is socialized. Everybody is connected and everybody is paying for the infrastructure. Future sustainable heating districts will often be developed for multiple consumers, neighbourhoods or districts. Therefore Groningen is developing a district approach in the energy transition. For over fifty districts the city of Groningen will develop an Energy Transition Plan (ETP) on district level before 2021.

Neighborhood-transition-plans will serve as a long-term-plan to ensure a transition towards natural gas-free neighborhoods. In the Regional Living Lab in Groningen, three neighborhoods are object of research (Paddepoel, Noorderplantsoen, Reitdiep)

The RLL of the Intensss PA project is the prime example for the other 49 neighborhood energy plans (NEP’s) that have to be developed. Lessons learned from the RLL are important in the development of all other NEP’s. Plus the RLL neighborhood is the first neighborhood to really get started with the energytransition on a neighborhood level.

Energy planning in the Regional Living Labs

The INTENSS-PA action has developed a network of seven Regional Living Labs (RLL), one in each of  the seven Regional areas participating in the project.

The RLLs are focused on improving and designing a shared and integrated sustainable energy planning concept and on applying it in order to develop seven sustainable energy plans, i.e. one for each Region. The overall approach involves learning sessions and experiential projects alongside intense networking.

Each RLL has worked on  a particular planning focus identifying their ambitions in relation to a long-term process of integrated  sustainable energy planning.

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