By 2050, Dutch administration aims, in line with EU goals, to reduce the Netherlands' emissions of greenhouse gases (such as carbon dioxide (CO2)) to zero. Natural gas is a major source of CO2 emissions in the Netherlands, and contributes to climate change. The Dutch government aims to rule out natural gas by 2050.
The municipality of Haarlem is frontrunner in the Netherlands on smart sustainable policies and wants to rule out natural gas by 2040. Besides, the municipality has a program ‘New Democracy’ where new forms of cooperation with citizens are explored. Haarlem is particularly active in citizens’ engagement in the energy transition, by stimulating, accelerating and facilitating their initiatives. As observed, active energy cooperation participants are more aware and feel higher sense of urgency. They can help the municipality to implement energy transition plans for their neighbourhoods so that they may switch to 100% renewable energy. With local partners Stadsgarage and Coöperatie Kennemer Energie (CKE), citizens will be facilitated to join several projects and become prosumers.
Since 2007 local citizens that can’t use their own roofs for solar panels work together to realize cooperative solar installations on roofs of other parties. The knowledge gained during the first successful projects supported next initiatives in tackling the complex process. At the request of initiatives, the municipality issued a call for tenders to set up an organization that would help initiatives overcome financial, organizational and legal barriers. As a result of this tender, CKE now supports not only new initiatives but also existing cooperatives with their administration and next steps in the energy transition.
As of 2019 there are 8 solar roofs in Haarlem owned by cooperatives comprising about 400 cooperants. Still more citizens want to participate in new sustainable energy projects. However it is hard to find proper locations for collective renewable energy power plants. Moreover this requires changing national regulations and subsidies in order to settle robust business cases for energy cooperatives.
The main targets of the Haarlem pilot are to scale up and accelerate the realization of collective solar roofs, to develop new business models, and to inform and involve citizens to increase awareness and sense of urgency and support for the energy transition.
The Haarlem pilot will consist of three new cooperative solar roofs to increase the share of renewables in Haarlem and to engage more citizens. During the project period, new laws and regulations regarding collective solar roofs are expected in the Netherlands, as well as lower feed-in tariffs. Besides, CKE wants to be able to run without subsidies at the end of EMPOWER2.0 and therefore needs to find new propositions. To achieve this new business models need to be developed and tested, along with a future-proof organizational model, and an efficient CKE organization. The pilot also aims to find a way to include and involve citizens throughout the city that don’t have the means to invest in several solar panels.
Together with other EMPOWER2.0 partners, a training and acceleration program available for citizens will be developed during the project, along with a toolbox for local governments. A regional learning community and living lab will be set up where regional partners can share and develop knowledge.
At the end of the project, the partners hope to have gained more insights in citizen’s behaviour and how to involve and empower them in the energy transition.
Due to the dependency on other parties’ involvment, especially roofowners, a change of scope may be necessary for the project partners of the municipality of Haarlem, CKE and Stadsgarage.
For further information, contact Sam de Guchteneire, municipality of Haarlem, the Netherlands firstname.lastname@example.org