A large part of the energy demand of our customers relates to heating and cooling. Consequently, the propositions for heating and cooling form an important part of our sustainability strategy.
Heat networks are more environmentally friendly than conventional heating with gas and are energy efficient. Customers can save a lot on gas, since no boiler is required in homes that are connected to such a network. The number of heat network connections is being expanded year after year, which contributes to the reduction of energy consumption. In Rotterdam, Utrecht and The Hague, we taking significant steps together with regional partners in improving the sustainability of the large district heat networks. In 2012, we signed a contract with waste processing company AVR for the supply of residual heat to our customers in the Rotterdam area. For this purpose, a heat pipe will be installed between the Botlek area and the city. In Utrecht, we are exploring the possibilities for a biomass plant that produces both electricity and heating.
The Harnaschpolder heating station was put into operation in October 2012. The plant replaces the temporary boiler installation. The Harnaschpolder combined heat and power plant is the first of our heat production units that works with a large heat pump that uses energy from the residue of the adjacent wastewater treatment plant.
Despite the decline in new construction, Eneco is able to continue its growth and to acquire new heating customers. Due to a stronger focus on the renovation market and commercial real estate, our business is expanding by some 6,000 home equivalents per year in both the residential and the office market. Housing corporations and real estate developers are responsible for most of this growth. Furthermore, there is an increasing demand for sustainable cooling. Cooling by means of groundwater and river water is a sustainable and financially attractive alternative to traditional air conditioning.
Joulz takes over the management of heating network from Essent
On 1 April 2012, Joulz took over the fault repair and maintenance activities on a large part of the district heating installations in the province of Noord-Brabant from Essent Local Energy Solutions for a period of five years. The installations for which Joulz is responsible supply district heating to approximately 43,000 household customers and business customers in Noord-Brabant. The acquisition is in line with Joulz’s strategy to expand its activities in the field of sustainable energy infrastructures, such as heating networks, and contributes to strengthening its national coverage.