NL: Four action plans presented to accelerate energy transition in greenhouse horticulture

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Four action plans to accelerate the energy transition in the Dutch greenhouse horticulture sector were presented during GreenTech Amsterdam: the Energy Transition Plan, the Area Approach, Lighthouses, and Greenboxes. The aim is to produce climate-neutral flowers, plants, vegetables, and fruit by 2040. The Horticulture Tomorrow initiative, launched in January 2024 under the leadership of Linda van Aken, brought together 26 experts to find solutions.

The European climate law aims for climate neutrality by 2050. The greenhouse horticulture sector aims to achieve this as early as 2040, according to the Energy Covenant 2022-2030 and the Energy Vision 2040. The targets for 2040 are 33.3% geothermal heat, 25% third-party heat, 25% heat pumps and thermal storage, and 10% energy from other sources. However, progress has been slow due to the complexity of projects, the need for regional cooperation, rising technology costs, and long permitting processes.

Urgency and responsibility
Linda van Aken stresses: “Besides technological acceleration, the Horticulture Tomorrow participants also reflected on the sector’s social relevance and right to exist, with a focus on personal responsibility.” Bart van Meurs, director at Division Q, added: ” The future can’t wait. Greenhouse horticulture has a responsibility, and there is a growing social debate about the raison d’être of intensive greenhouse horticulture in our country with scarce resources. A decisive and sustainable dissent from the sector is essential to become future-proof.”

Cooperating on a sustainable future
Together with ACCEZ, a progressive group of entrepreneurs and cooperatives—the Coalition of the Willing—is taking the initiative for a sustainable future. “The group wants to gain visibility, connect, and accelerate existing initiatives,” says Linda. Horticulture Tomorrow Energy plays a crucial role in the energy issue by accelerating relevant entrepreneurial questions, promoting networking, and delivering concrete results.

From ideas to action
During four sessions, participants and experts searched for the right mindsets. Linda explains, “We started by identifying existing initiatives from Greenport, Glastuinbouw Nederland, and Florpartners, among others. These were prioritized and resulted in four lines of action.” For each action plan, participants were divided into groups based on their interests and expertise. “This led to targeted cooperation and quick implementation of the action plans.” Still, collaborating on a big topic like the energy issue under time pressure can be tricky. Linda stresses: “The resistance that resulted from the method forced us to work smarter, to ask different questions, and to look for new solutions. In a large group, it is tempting to create something big to find common ground. We made adjustments each time and constantly asked ourselves: how do we keep it practical? Which experts do we need now to take the next step?”

Call for further elaboration
At GreenTech Amsterdam, Jan Opschoor, a member of the Coalition of the Willing and director of sustainability at Van Iperen, called for further elaboration of the action plans. Linda adds: “Now we see that the groups want to take the action plan further. From the beginning, it has been emphasized that the outcome is the result of what the participants came up with. That’s a real change of approach.”

Source: ACCEZ

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