A just heat transition: Assessing the future of heat supply in Amsterdam using an energy justice framework
thesisposted on 09.10.2020, 12:44 by Data Steward
Heat services are essential for all households in the Netherlands, because warmth is a basic need (Halse, 2008). Currently, this service is delivered to 95% of households in the Netherlands in the form of natural gas. The earthquakes in Groningen as a result of natural gas extraction have resulted in the fact that this exploitation will stop (S. E. Raad, 2018). For the reason of security of supply, the Netherlands prefers not to rely on foreign countries for the supply of gas. Therefore, the transition from natural gas to alternative sources of heat has been started. The Paris Agreement has set goals for carbon dioxide reduction to prevent global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius. On top of this, the Dutch Climate agreement has formulated the ambition to reduce CO2-emissions with 49% in 2030, compared to 1990 (S. E. Raad, 2018). These ambitions support the transition from the fossil fuel, CO2-emitting natural gas, to alternative, sustainable and renewable sources of heat.
Because of the importance of heat services to secure a basic human need (warmth), it is undesirable to accept large differences in the affordability or access to these services between different groups of society. Currently, the trends of decentralization, increased citizen responsibility, the focus on CO2-emission reduction targets and the previous decades of liberalization, all lead to concerns about the effects of the heat transition (Goldthau, 2014; Szulecki, 2018). These effects are largely unknown to date and will depend on political choices that are made, underpinned by public values. Currently, these values are overshadowed by the urgency of a rapid transition. In order to address these values, the academic field of studying energy justice has emerged, in which justice principles are applied to the field of energy production, consumption, policy, activism and security (Jenkins, McCauley, Heffron, Stephan, Rehner, 2015). Energy justice aims: “to provide all individuals, across all areas, with safe, affordable and sustainable energy” (McCauley, Jenkins, & Forman, 2013).