The Hague a green city
The Hague now leads the way in sustainability in The Netherlands and its ambitious climate plan includes the goal to become climate-neutral by 2030, 10 years ahead of the national target.
With support from organisations like The Hague Institute for Global Justice, the World Resources Institute, Climate Alliance, Eurocities, the Covenant of Mayors and the Compact of Mayors, the city is well on the way to achieving those goals, already making a difference by reducing CO2 emissions and expanding sustainable district heating. Generating renewable energy is a priority too, and the Energy & Renewables knowledge cluster in The Hague includes many companies working to make renewable energy accessible and efficient. Meanwhile, Deputy Mayor Lisbeth van Tongeren (GroenLinks) has mobilised half a million Euros to speed up sustainability initiatives. “I feel an enormous drive to make sure that everyone is able to join the energy transition,” she says. “I really want to get this off the ground. Nothing is as contagious as solar panels."
Residents also have various car-sharing options, from renting out or sharing their car, either in person or via websites, to sharing a lease car. Businesses can also share cars via sites like Greenwheels and MyWheels. The Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency have concluded that car sharing has resulted in 30% fewer cars on the road and 18% fewer kilometres driven.
Oceans of Energy is a company that wants to use the space available on the ocean to create renewable energy. Their first offshore floating solar farm will be in operation before 2020 off the coast of Scheveningen, and if successful, larger installations will follow.
Also making good use of the ocean is the Noordzeeboerderij foundation, a company aiming to prove the potential of seaweed for the circular economy. Seaweed is a versatile plant that can be cultured without the use of land, fresh water or fertiliser. It is environmentally friendly, nutritious and can be used in many different ways – as a tasty ingredient in soups or salads or as raw material for producing bio plastics and textiles. The Noordzeeboerderij especially sees opportunities in cultivating seaweed within wind parks, agriculture and at sea. This perfectly aligns with plans for potentially setting up 1000 square metres of wind parks on the Dutch coast. The space can then be used in a multifunctional manner: “The demand for healthy, plant-based food and raw materials is increasing drastically, preferably locally produced and if possible multifunctional. The seaweed cultivation will be an important building block within the circular economy”, says Koen van Swam of the foundation Noordzeeboerderij.
In 2020, the first project in the world for producing hydrogen at sea will kick off on an oil and gas platform offshore at Scheveningen. The platform will be equipped with an electrolyser which can split water to produce hydrogen (H2) and oxygen (O2). At sea, there are two sources of energy that can be used to power this process: gas and wind energy. Hydrogen is a clean alternative to fossil fuels, as its usage does not lead to the release of hazardous substances.