Science - December 15, 2015

Horticulture sector achieves climate target

Albert Sikkema

The CO2 emissions of the horticulture sector has decreased by 30 percent in four years. This was shown in the Energiemonitor Glastuinbouw (Energy monitor of the horticulture sector) of LEI.

Between 2010 and 2014 the CO2 emissions of the Dutch greenhouse growers reduced with 1,8 megatons to 5,7 megatons. With this the CO2 consumption is already lower than with the government agreed climate target for 2020, as defined in the Long-term Agreement on Energy Greenhouse 2014-2020 (Meerjarenafspraak Energietransitie Glastuinbouw).

The most important reason behind this reduction is the decline in acreage horticulture, the lower sale of electricity by the horticulturalist and the increase use of renewable energy. The portion of renewable energy rose between 2010 and 2014 from 1,9 to 4,4 percent of the total consumption. Because the reasons behind the CO2 decrease are structural, the LEI expects that the climate target can easily be achieved. Most important advantage is that also the energy usage per m2 of greenhouse has reduced, according to LEI researchers.

In 2014 the horticulture produced 10.5 billion kWh electricity from cogeneration. This production, 9 percent of national consumption and accounting for the use of 1,5 million households, was however lower than previous years. Due to the lower oil prices the electricity prices for the horticulturalists was also lower and many reduced their power production. Due to that decline also the natural gas consumption and CO2 emissions reduced. Besides, the greenhouses are a net producer of electricity because the greenhouses consumed 7.7 billion kWh in 2014.

The increase in the portion of renewable energy is mostly due to the increased use of geothermal energy. The portion of renewable energy in the horticulture sector, 4.4 percent of the total, is still lagging behind on the national portion of 5.6 percent, LEI reports, but is growing faster than the national average.