In the period 1998-2008, the amount of electricity generated in the Netherlands increased from 92 to 108 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh). The increase is mainly generated in combined heat and power systems.
CHP capacity growing
Electricity is predominantly generated in the Netherlands by combustion of fossil fuels. In combined heat and power (CHP) systems, the heat released during the process can be used for other purposes, e.g. process heat in manufacturing industry, district heating and space heating in, for example, greenhouse horticulture. Between 1998 and 2008, electricity generated in CHP systems has risen by more than 40 percent.
Last year, CHP plants produced 61 billion kWh of electricity, as against nearly 49 billion kWh in 1998. The amount of electricity generated by wind turbines also increased in that period: from 0.6 billion kWh in 1998 to 4.3 billion kWh in 2008.
Growth use of fossil fuels slows down
Due to the increase in CHP capacity and renewable energy sources, the use of fossil fuels can be reduced. Emission of substances harmful to the environment (e.g. CO2) can thus be restricted.
Total electricity production and the heat released during the process increased by 15 percent between 1998 and 2008. The amount of fossil fuels used grew by approximately 10 percent over the same period.
Sustained high growth CHP power in greenhouse horticulture
Greenhouse horticulture produced 11 billion kWh of electricity in 2008, nearly four times as much as in 1998. The CHP capacity increase is almost entirely accounted for by greenhouse horticulture. Between 1998 and 2004, CHP capacity grew slowly, but almost tripled between 2005 and 2008. By the end of 2008, CHP power generated in greenhouse horticulture amounted to nearly 3 gigawatts, more than 10 percent of total capacity generated in the Netherlands.
The CHP capacity growth is partly caused by recent developments on the energy market. Besides electricity and heat required for their own production, horticultural farmers increasingly make profits by selling self-generated electricity.
Overall capacity of CHP plants
Bart van Wezel and Jan Kloots