September 22, 2023

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This makes sustainable integration possible –

This makes sustainable integration possible –

Research The energy transition will have a huge impact on space in the Netherlands. From the new transformer house on everyone’s street to major installations. Mark Coleman emphatically calls for integration with urban planning – to prevent fragmentation. With energy at the forefront.

Minister Cetin’s recent statement that the energy system of the future will require a large amount of space is in itself a problem for cities low. With measures to deal with the consequences of climate change such as Rain resistantIn nature-inclusive and heat-resistant urban areas, the pressure on public space in cities is increasing significantly. The same applies to sustainable energy generation, distribution and storage. Energy transformation requires increasing space.

In the past, energy availability always followed the question of how to develop cities, industrial areas and social functions. With current grid congestion, it is the opposite: energy is increasingly driving spatial developments. The integration of sustainable energy infrastructure, along with all other tasks, is putting increasing pressure on the use of public spaces in cities like Amsterdam. The solution lies in better integrating the energy transition into the spatial development processes of densely populated cities.

An increasing role in urban design

Energy transition is subject to conflicts in increasingly dense urban areas. Reason: Outdated planning context. Sustainable energy infrastructure is not sufficiently integrated into urban development. This lack of integration hinders the development of sustainable energy infrastructure in densely populated urban areas.

Never before has energy had a greater impact on how cities are planned than it does today. Given the challenge of urban energy transitions, the role of energy in urban planning is expected to increase. The transition to a more sustainable energy system causes structural change in both aboveground and underground spaces in urban areas. New renewable energy sources and associated infrastructure are becoming more visible in the urban landscape. While available space is becoming more scarce, because many tasks require space.

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Energy is still often viewed as a sectoral development

The challenge is great. Urban areas are becoming more dense; By 2050, about 68 percent of the world’s population will live in cities. Both urban energy transitions and densification are increasing pressure on land use in already overburdened urban areas. The result: competing claims to use the space. Urban energy transitions are characterized by increased electricity use, which requires more local energy infrastructure such as medium voltage areas, substations and power cables. In addition, local renewable energy sources and technologies require more urban land.

There are no new connections

The increasing migration to cities and the demand for larger homes requires more homes, facilities and thus land. Densification is an inevitable solution for planning cities with limited available space. We already see that both claims compete for priority. As a result, the expansion of conventional energy systems faces major problems. For example, urban areas experience congestion in electricity grids, leading to critical interventions by grid operators. This could include stopping new businesses, schools and other jobs from being connected to the grid, hindering urban, social and economic development. The increase in the use of electricity for transportation, more electricity due to CO2 reduction targets and economic developments contribute to increased congestion.

Amsterdam example

Based on recent studies, the city of Amsterdam will experience an electricity shortage of between 2,500 and 4,000 MW in 2050, depending on different scenarios. A growing city, the municipality’s climate and other goals underlie the expected growth in electricity demand. The urgent need for energy interventions is clear and recognized by both the municipality of Amsterdam and grid operator Liander. This urgency led to two substantive, bipartisan studies on electricity in 2019 and an updated version in 2021. To prevent further congestion and ensure reliable and continuous availability of electricity, within city limits Between 10 and 20 new substations 1,500 medium voltage zones are being developed.

At the same time, the city’s energy landscape is changing rapidly. The city wants homes and other buildings to be fossil fuel-free by 2040, but all city transportation must be so by 2030. For example, 82,000 charging points must be integrated into the city’s energy grid. In addition, the city wants to generate 127 megawatts of wind power and 400 megawatts of solar power. Given all these developments, it is expected that demand for electricity in 2050 will reach three or four times what it is now in Amsterdam. In the capital, we are already seeing examples where coordination among stakeholders leads to resistance. One of the most famous is Breugelstraat in the south of Amsterdam Locals with picnic table he sat At the construction site of the medium voltage area On their street.

Energy developments must be more carefully integrated into spatial and strategic planning processes

Urban energy conversion tasks such as those in Amsterdam are complex processes. It involves many physical changes within a limited period of time, requiring many stakeholders to work together. An integrated approach helps parties understand each other’s interests and goals and deal with external influences. This is in contrast to the current situation, where the lack of integration can be traced to the limited ability of planners to make decisions regarding energy developments. It also lacks the level at which solutions or decisions should be made.

Energy is still often viewed as sectoral development rather than an integral part of spatial planning. The case study of Amsterdam shows that urban energy transitions are only a limited and integrated part of spatial development plans, as defined in most urban planning administrative structures. Second, the solution requires greater city-level consensus among policies, city departments and actors.

Therefore, urban energy transitions should be addressed as an integral part of planning problems and perhaps even as the main problem of planning problems. So what is needed to integrate energy transitions into urban areas? First, energy developments must be more carefully integrated into spatial and strategic planning processes, in collaboration with urban planners, developers and grid operators. To find solutions, local governments, developers and grid operators must create a planning process that integrates energy and spatial interests and goals. This is one of the most important conclusions I have reached from my research into how conflicts over land use emerge among actors active in urban energy transitions.

Moreover, a clear development framework can help urban planners, planners, and project managers evaluate the external impacts of new technologies, different political alliances, and many options. The framework helps you stay on the chosen path and identify when flexibility is required to integrate external influences.

Reducing pressure on public areas

A paradoxical trend to separate the issue of energy from urban planning It only increases the number of energy strategies, policies and actions. Consequently, efforts become fragmented rather than integrated and unified, leading to more land use conflict and less efficiency in the long term. It is best to merge space claims directly. When allocating plots of land, for example, aim to require energy-neutral construction, so that development can be achieved with smaller connectivity. In addition, the municipality, grid operator and developers can agree to include medium voltage space in the building. This reduces pressure on public space. Reaching consensus among all stakeholders forms the basis for integrating issues in urban energy transitions. Therefore, the integration of sustainable energy infrastructure becomes, literally and figuratively, a matter of “pressure in‘.

Cover: “High Voltage Warning Sign”

By Frank Nagel

Stock struggle)

Mark Coleman Written by Mark Coleman (Source:

Written by Mark Coleman

Mark Coleman is a senior project leader for regional development in the province of Flevoland and an external PhD candidate in Energy Transition at Utrecht University