The annual meeting of the Glastuinbouwpact (Greenhouse Horticultural Pact) Bommelerwaard & Neerijnen took place on 22 January in Zuilichem in the Netherlands. With the theme 'Next Step in Sustainability', the evening could count on a large turnout from growers, authorities and sector parties. Among others, Sjaak van der Tak of Glastuinbouw Nederland (Greenhouse Horticulture Netherlands), Bas van der Kallen of Alliander and deputy of the provincial executive Peter Drenth intervened and discussed the challenges surrounding this theme with the audience.
The director of auction Veiling Zaltbommel and the administrator of the Greenhouse Horticulture Pact Peter van Osch chaired the evening. They argued that sustainability affects the greenhouse horticulture sector. "But how is this applied practically?", they asked.
Sjaak van der Tak, chairman of Glastuinbouw Nederland, discussed the goal outlined by the advocacy organization to work nationally towards energy sustainability. According to him, the region is going strong. "The Greenhouse Horticulture Pact suits sustainable energy. The commitment of the province's government to diminish CO2 emissions is living up to the expectations."
Rochus van Tuijl, chairman of the Energy Monitoring Board of the Greenhouse Horticulture Pact, discussed the regional approach of the Bommelerwaard & Neerijnen. "For example, there is a widespread effort to work without the use of gas. Therefore, it is extremely crucial the cooperation of the growers."
Contribution Gelderland province
Peter Drenth discussed the role of the province of Gelderland in this sustainability transition, "Sustainability is often directly linked to the climate problem. In order to become independent from foreign gas supply, it is important to focus on sustainable energy supplies in the Netherlands".
If horticulture does not move ahead, the province of Gelderland will miss an important economic pillar in the future. "The province has room to financially supplement a good proposal about the CO2 pipeline", the deputy said. Further, he sees opportunities in cooperation within Gelderland itself. For example, the animal sector in the province has the opportunity to deliver green CO2 from fertilizers. According to Drenth, there are chances to make a deal.
Off the gas
Gas provides the greenhouse horticulture with heat, electricity and CO2 for flowers and plants. The heat can always be generated better with cleaner energy sources such as heat pumps and geothermal heat. However, a 'gas-free' cultivation means that CO2, as a nutrient for flowers and plants, has to come from somewhere else. This can be supplied with bio-CO2. Rochus van Tuijl indicated that far-reaching agreements have already been made to build a pipeline network for this purpose. The construction of this network can run simultaneously with the construction of a horticultural sewer system, which ensures a clean treatment of the waste water from the area.
Alliander was invited to discuss the electricity demand in the area. After all, growing without gas does indeed mean an increasing demand for electricity. Bas van der Kallen explained how Alliander will provide this service. "As an energy company, we must provide sufficient energy. However, honestly, this is always a challenge."
Rose grower Leon Dukker from Porta Nova discussed the electricity supply of his company. He explained how his company made the transition to gasless cultivation and reduction of light emission. That certainly did not go as smoothly as expected. "In order to build a route, we had to talk to five municipalities, several companies and landowners. The networks were not designed for this and it required a considerable investment. Also, we had to acquire the necessary knowledge."
However, according to the entrepreneur, the process is extremely helpful. "The goal of the government is to work without gas. Anyway, it is important not to get carried away by emotions and to limit the risks. But in the end, you would know exactly what you buy."
Source: Glastuinbouwpact Bommelerwaard