The Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) has published a new report outlining two possible scenarios for the development of the country's energy system towards a fully decarbonized economy by 2050.
Called Adapt and Transform, respectively, both scenarios include a strong development of renewables and hydrogen, and, according to the report's authors, the major shift towards clean energy sources will not lead to higher costs. Energy demand in the country is expected to grow from around 110 TWh currently to up to 500 TWh.
The Adapt scenario is less ambitious and contributes less to achieving the Paris climate goals, with fossil fuels being still partly used as raw materials and emissions from international aviation and maritime shipping being only reduced by half.
The Transform scenario raises the bar much higher, as a radical behavioral change will be needed and far-reaching energy savings will be required to reduce energy demand. Under this scenario, renewables will cover almost all electricity demand in the country by 2050, but power imports will be needed to meet all consumption.
The Adapt scenario envisages that the Netherlands' wind and solar capacity may reach 98.5 GW by 2050, including 36 GW of offshore wind, 7.5 GW of onshore wind, and 55 GW of solar PV, with no nuclear power capacity expected to be in operation. Under the Transform scenario, by contrast, nuclear power may have a share of around 7% thanks to 5 GW of installed capacity and solar reaching 132 GW, offshore wind 70 GW and onshore wind 12 GW, with their total capacity reaching 214 GW.
Under both scenarios, the share of solar and wind in the country's electricity mix will be above 80% in 2030 and over 90% in 2050.
“We will have to strive for the largest possible use of sun and wind for our energy supply and making heavy industry more sustainable,” the TNO experts said. “Nuclear energy can be a necessary and CO2-free supplement to this, but should not overshadow the ambitions for sun and wind.”
The Netherlands reached a cumulative installed PV capacity of 14.3 GW at the end of 2021, according to the Dutch Central Agency for Statistics. The Dutch solar market last year grew by 3.3 GW of newly deployed capacity. By comparison, newly deployed PV systems hit 2.93 GW in 2020, 2.57 GW in 2019, 1.69 GW in 2018, and 853 MW in 2017.
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