The Design of a Dutch carbon-free energy system (2020)


From 2013 till 2017 we organized several KIVI seminars in Utrecht where more than 50 Dutch professionals presented their views on the energy challenge for the Netherlands in the future. Based on this particularly useful information we devised an energy plan for 2050 and published it beginning 2018.
The plan describes the EnergyNL2050 energy system which is CO2 neutral. The system generates more than 85% of the nationally needed energy and needs at most 15% import from abroad. Although positive feedback was received, we recognized that a few important aspects were still missing, such as hourly based system simulations and a thorough financial analysis.

In this paper we report the results of detailed simulations using hourly weather data, renewable energy production and demand data during three years. Recent functional energy demands (year 2015) were extrapolated to the energy demands expected in 2050. From this the required renewable energy could be analyzed.


We also refined the system design such that all components cooperate well together to achieve an optimal final result. A detailed financial analysis shows that the EnergyNL2050 system is affordable: the annual energy costs are analyzed to be about €28 billion. The current annual energy costs are about €21 billion. But this cost difference is compensated by the avoided CO2 tax (being €41 per ton CO2) on the 185 Mton saved CO2 emission.

In the implementation care is taken that the Dutch landscape is preserved as much as possible by proposing only a very limited amount of wind power on land and only a very small amount of solar parks.

One important feature also is that the electricity network does not need a significant capacity enlargement by using several interesting techniques such as smart charging, a distributed net of fuel cells, an efficient curtailment strategy and the location of the electrolyzers. The total cost of the system has been modelled and the plan is derived from a total cost optimization of the entire system, including the different segments of the electricity grid.

Edition May, 2020, included correction Oct, 2020.

Click here or on the picture to download for the full report or here for the summary.

The future Dutch full carbon-free energy system 2018

Dutch energy system will look quite different in 2050 from what we have now. It is very important to have a detailed view on the expected 2050 system so that an efficient transition can be defined and realized. Many published scenarios still make use of a considerable amount of carbon fuels in 2050 which makes it difficult to arrive at the desired CO2 emission targets. It is often claimed that this cannot be achieved without the (extensive) use of CCS technology.

We have set as our goal to have a zero carbon energy system and investigate if the Netherlands can satisfy the demand largely by energy resources from the Netherlands. This design study shows that this is indeed possible. However it will necessitate big changes in how we use energy at the demand side and how we match the demand with the available energy supply. The proposed design has not been simulated but seems feasible. Nevertheless it is suggested to perform simulations in order to validate the design.

Final Edition March 6, 2018

Klik hier of op de afbeelding om te downloaden. De NL samenvatting staat here .