4 things the Netherlands is doing to become greener
The Netherlands is a front runner in coming up with innovative ways to reduce greenhouse emissions, produce alternative energy and devise new strategies to benefit the environment.
Latest green developments
Here are four of the latest developments that are being implemented, or are planned to be pursued, in the near future:
› Electronically-connected trucks
Starting in 2017, a new method of transporting goods will be implemented on the roads and highways of the Netherlands.
Electronically-connected trucks will drive in train-like formations based on a new system called "platooning". For starters, the trains will consist of two or three trucks in a row, connected through Wi-Fi and sensors.
This experimental way to transport flowers, supplies and bulk goods is expected to reduce CO2 emissions. The eventual target is to have 60 percent of trucks drive in this manner by the year 2025, reducing truck emissions by 10 percent.
› Eliminating natural gas emissions
A gigantic project to eliminate natural gas use in Dutch households is about to take off. The seven million households that are still using natural gas to heat their homes are scheduled to be switched to alternative energy sources by the year 2030.
Currently, many newly built houses already have electric stoves instead of gas burners, no gas-fired boilers, extra isolation, and they use geothermal energy. Some are even supplied with solar panels.
This initiative is undertaken to meet the requirements of the Paris Agreement, and is supported by 90 Dutch municipalities and various other organisations.
› Trains to start running on renewable energy
Starting January 1, 2018, all electric NS trains will be powered by renewable energy, derived from wind power.
This transition will be completed a year sooner than originaly planned, and it makes the Netherlands the first country in the world to have its trains be fully powered by a green energy source.
› Massive forestation plans
Environmental organisations and businesses have laid down plans to add big forests to the Dutch landscape. A total of 100.000 hectares, more than the complete current Veluwe forest area, is scheduled to be added.
Environment, public health and economy would all benefit from more trees, both in larger forests in the countryside and in smaller wooded areas around the bigger cities.
Wood is fast becoming a more expensive material, and the trees’ ability to absorb CO2 is expected to process around 4.5 million tons of emitted gases.
The forestation plans are still contested by the political party CDA, because it might negatively influence the farming industry, but the initiative is enthusiastically supported by parties like PvdA and D66. The final plans will have to wait until after the Dutch elections.