A joint venture agreement has been signed between Turnhout town council, land developer Slim Turnhout, project developer ION, heating network operator Eandis and heating producer and supplier Veolia to develop a district heating system in the Niefhout neighbourhood. The agreement was signed in the presence of the Flemish Minister for Urban Policy, Liesbeth Homans. It will be the first district heating system in the Campine region. The aim is for the partners to join forces to approach the issue of sustainable district heating in the region as effectively as possible. IVEKA and Eandis are eager to contribute their efforts to the project.
IVEKA, Eandis and district heating
The technology behind district heating networks is closely related to that used for the gas supply. IVEKA and Eandis have the knowledge and manpower at hand to conduct research into heating, support the design and installation of the infrastructure, provide connections to the district heating network for the heat sources and consumers and later to guarantee the operation of the installations all the way to the heat exchanger in the customer’s home. ‘All this fits within IVEKA and Eandis’ role in taking the burden off local councils in terms of their duty to provide energy in public property,’ says Paul Gistelinck, director of Heating at Eandis.
Smart, affordable energy
Along with its partners ION and PMV, Turnhout town council intends to use the Slim Turnhout project to develop a new neighbourhood on old industrial sites that offers possibilities for smart living and working. ‘Our focus lies on modernisation and sustainability. We are putting that into practice here by opting for an innovative technology that provides sustainable energy,’ says Kristof Vanfleteren of project developer ION with great enthusiasm.
The signing of this joint venture is a sign of the trust that the town council and the other project partners place in the distribution net operator as a partner and point of contact.
Eandis has developed a thorough preparatory study in cooperation with all its partners to come up with a profitable business case for this project. The potential customer zones in Turnhout have been mapped out. The customers are there, and all the partners have the ambition to turn this project into a true success story. By growing step by step, we are working towards a successful district heating network, a more sustainable energy supply and increased energy efficiency in Turnhout.
Sustainable energy for more than a quarter of Turnhout households
In the spring of 2016, the first residents of Niefhout will already be able to benefit from their connection to the district heating network. However, ambitions clearly extend further than the area surrounding the railway station.
‘By rolling out the district heating network to other areas of Turnhout in the future, we will be able to reduce CO2 emissions in our town,’ explains the mayor, Eric Vos. ‘This is why we want to offer around 5000 Turnhout families – more than a quarter, in fact – sustainable and affordable heating through the district heating network over time’, he adds.
District heating is highly promising technology. It combines ‘comfortable heating’ with maximum energy efficiency. In turn, this energy efficiency helps to reduce CO2 emissions.
The energy efficiency of district heating networks is also an important factor in the profitability of heating projects. Success is most likely in projects where ‘ecology’ and ‘economy’ go hand in hand.
District heating networks have the flexibility to switch to the most cost-effective heat source at any given time, without requiring changes to the underlying network itself. What is more, district heating networks are suitable for both household and industrial use. The combination of possibilities is an advantage when calculating the ‘potential yield’ of investment projects.
District heating networks have already been developed in many European countries: the technology is not new. The investment climate for district heating networks in Flanders is also favourable. This is why IVEKA and Eandis are eager to start working on creating district heating networks in the region.