The way is clear for a natural gas free Bospolder – Tussendijken district

Housing corporation Havensteder, the municipality of Rotterdam and Eneco have entered into agreements regarding the feasibility and affordability of switching to district heating for residents in the Bospolder-Tussendijken district. The agreements are the result of an intensive process in which co-creation and transparency were first and foremost.

The three organisations formalised their collaboration on 21 January 2021 by signing the 'first area agreement in the city’. Alderman Bas Kurvers (municipality of Rotterdam), Hedy van den Berk (Havensteder) and Manja Thiry (Eneco) signed the Area Agreement Bospolder-Tussendijken natural gas fee phase 1. Alderman Bas Kurvers (Building, housing, and the energy transition in the built environment): ‘I am proud that, together with Eneco and Havensteder, we are taking a broader view than our own organisations. The idea is simple, but it does take courage: the more you share at the front end, examine, and enter into agreements with each other, the more you can reduce the risks. Which in turn has a favourable effect on the plan and the costs.

The partners in the process have always been transparent in their approach, planning, financial information, etc. The collaboration in the Bospolder-Tussendijken district is special as this has not taken place in this manner before in other Rotterdam area approaches. Although the partners do have diverging interests, these were usually solved in collaboration with each other through knowledge and understanding of each other's situation. In addition, the collaboration provided insight into the costs and the possibilities to reduce costs, resulting in an approach with which natural gas free living has become feasible and affordable for Bospolder-Tussendijken residents and an investment plan (business case) that all parties can say “YES” to.

Hedy van den Berk, Chair of the Board of Havensteder: ‘As a result of this intensive collaboration, we have been able to realise a good proposal for our tenants: a cost-free switch to natural gas free.’

Manja Thiry, Business Development Director Eneco: ‘From our sound joint objectives and agreements, we will now start with the installation of the heating grid. With this, sustainable and comfortable heating has come a further step closer.

Results of the collaboration
The intensive two-year collaboration process has also resulted in the following results:

  • Determining which part of the Bospolder-Tussendijk district can make the switch to district heating first and how that can be achieved in a feasible and affordable manner. The subsidy of the ‘Programme Natural Gas Free Districts’ and ‘Stimulation regulation rental homes’ contribute substantially to the feasibility and affordability of switching to natural gas free. It concerns the area between the Schiedamseweg, the Mathenesserweg, the Grote Visserijstaat, the Rösener Manzstraat and the Jan Kruijffstraat. We will start in the Gijsinglaan. In total, we will connect 1700 residential and commercial buildings to district heating between 2021 and 2025.
  • Two types of costs for the energy transition have been identified: the one-off investment costs that have to be made to connect to district heating and the monthly costs. One-off costs are for the owners of the residential property, thus tenants and owner-residents. The tenants of Havensteder do not have to pay anything for the switch and their monthly costs remain the same. Owner-residents will receive a financial proposal from the municipality before the summer to switch to district heating.
  • Limiting the inconvenience for residents when installing the district heating. This is possible because the partners coordinate, for example, work on the sewers with the installation of district heating. As a result, the road has to be opened up less often. In addition to less inconvenience, this is also more efficient and thus cheaper.
  • It was also examined in detail how the installation of district heating in the underground can provide possibilities for a good tree structure.

District heating best alternative for natural gas
District heating is the easiest and cheapest solution for natural gas for Bospolder-Tussendijken. District heating makes use of the residual heat of the Rotterdam harbour to heat homes and tap water. In the future, cooking will only be possible electrically. After being hooked up to district heating, residents will no longer need a gas water heater or boiler to heat water and will then be cooking electrically. This will result in a CO2 reduction of 66% compared to a central heating boiler. As from 2021, the first homes and buildings can be hooked up to district heating. The energy transition is also being taken advantage of to strengthen the position of the residents in the district in the area of work, debts, language and care. Thus, it is also well-aligned with the Resilient Bo-Tu programme.