Towards the year 2030, far-reaching changes are foreseen for greenhouse horticulture in the Westland region. Expectations range from pessimistic, to moderate and even optimistic, according to research by Wageningen Economic Research commissioned by Capturam. The biggest change will be in terms of energy supply, as they will rely less on natural gas and more on sustainable sources and purchasing heat and electricity from third parties. This stems from a changing energy demand and sector structure, government policy and sustainability efforts of greenhouse horticulture companies and their partners. This shift in energy sources will have a favorable effect on the reduction of CO2 emissions and the increase in the share of renewable energy.
Greenhouse horticulture in the Westland region has its own set of businesses, crops and acreage. Researchers established three distinct future scenarios for the development of greenhouse horticulture in the Westland region: a pessimistic, a moderate and an optimistic one. In each of these three scenarios for 2030, a decrease of the greenhouse horticulture area in the municipality of Westland and adjacent areas of Midden-Delfland and Hoek van Holland will be considered. This affects the total energy demand. In addition, the shift between the cultivation of the various crops also has an impact.
In each of the scenarios, a decrease in the heat demand per m2 and an increase in the electricity demand per m2 is anticipated. This is a result of a shift between the cultivated crops and business processes such as intensification (including increase in growth light), extensification and energy saving. For the total heat demand of the region, the combination of the heat demand per m2 and the total area in each scenario leads to a decrease. For the total electricity demand, this leads to a decrease in the pessimistic scenario and an increase in the moderate and optimistic scenario.
Energy supply, CO2 emissions and share of renewable energy
The energy supply of greenhouse horticulture is a mix of sources in each of the 2030 scenarios. Due to the change in energy demand, government policy and sustainability efforts by greenhouse horticulture companies and their partners, the energy supply in 2030 will support substantially less natural gas. In each of the scenarios it is anticipated that the use of geothermal energy, heat from third parties and purchased electricity will grow. This will reduce the use of natural gas boilers and the sale of electricity with natural gas CHP. Heat networks and external CO2 supply are essential here.
Due to the changes in the sector structure in Westland, energy demand and energy supply, CO2 emissions in each of the scenarios will fall by about two-thirds in 2030 compared to 2015. The share of sustainable heat will grow strongly from 5% in 2015 to 28 to 48% in 2030.
Future-proof greenhouse horticulture requires a future-proof energy supply and vice versa
Both the experts and the discussion session with stakeholders have shown that there is coherence between the modernization of greenhouse horticulture and the development of sustainable energy supplies. Vital, perspective-rich companies need a sustainable, future-proof energy supply. And future-proof, sustainable energy facilities only develop in vital, prospective companies.
Also for the Westland region, complex processes and large investments are foreseen for energy sustainability. This makes cooperation necessary between greenhouse horticulture companies in heat co-operatives, the government, developers, suppliers and energy companies. The introduction of heat from third parties and the growing use of geothermal energy at the expense of natural gas increase the importance of purched electricity and external CO2.
The insights from this research project support Capturam and other stakeholders in their development of a sustainable and innovative energy supply for the Westland region.
Source: Wageningen University & Research