Netherlands - Direct Uses




Greenhouse heating



 geothermal heat pumps





Total thermal installed capacity in MWt


Direct use in TJ/year


Direct use in GWh/year


Capacity factor



Country Update: The first use of geothermal energy in the country started in the early 1980s with shallow geothermal applications. Initially, the objective was cooling and seasonal storage of energy for space heating in winter. The focus in the 1980s was on larger scale applications (buildings such as offices rather than individual homes), and that in the Netherlands shallow aquifers can be found almost everywhere, many new utility buildings started using groundwater wells to store and extract thermal energy. The first attempt to develop deep geothermal energy in the period 1980 – 2000 was basically both unsuccessful and costly. At the beginning of this century the setting started to change. Heat and cold storage applications and the rate of implementation increased spectacularly – even with modest government support. The renewed interest led to the implementation of the first deep projects, mostly for the heat demand of greenhouses. By the end of 2013, geothermal development is still in a fairly early development state, though heat and cold storage is thought to be a mature technology. In 2013 these system supplied 830 GWh and the nine deep geothermal plants supplied 268 GWh. In 2014 four new deep geothermal doublets were in the process of drilling, testing, and/or starting production. Today, there are a total of 2,300 geothermal heat pump units in operation operating 2,000 full load hours annually. (van Heekeren and Bakema, 2015).

Taken from: John W. Lund and Tonya L. Boyd
Published in Direct Utilization of Geothermal Energy 2015 Worldwide Review

Total thermal installed capacity in MWt:1,410.3
Direct use in TJ/year10,699.4
Direct use in GWh/year2,972.3
Capacity factor0.24

Originally the object of drilling energy wells in the country was to store solar energy for space heating in winter. Later, this application broadened to the storage of thermal energy (both heat and cold) from other sources and to include geothermal heat pumps. The R&D of the early applications in the 1980s was focused on large scale applications such as commercial buildings rather than residential houses. Almost all of these early projects used ground water wells to store and extract thermal energy. In the late 1990s, borehole heat exchangers began to pay a more important role with geothermal heat pumps.

At present, most of the geothermal heat pumps projects are using vertical borehole heat exchangers, with over 10,000 of these in operation. Most are small scale applications such as for single family houses or small office and commercial buildings. Systems in family homes are designed for the heating load, whereas in commercial/office building the design is for both heating and cooling. Most projects use aquifer storage for both heating and cooling, with heat pump capacities in the 50 to 100 kWt range, and using ground water flow rates at less than 10 m3/hr (as no permits are need up to this rate). In Amsterdam about 1,200 large systems are installed with heat pump capacities around 1,000 kWt in some cases extracting over 250 m3/hr from a single well. Direct groundwater cooling is also practiced with the larger projects. 
The estimated capacity and use of geothermal heat pumps in the country is

175 MWt and 1,012.6 TJ/yr for the smaller units (average 7 kWt) and
1,219.3 MWt and 9,407.2 TJ/yr for the larger units (average 1,006 kWt)
for a total of 1,394.30 MWt and 10,419.80 TJ/yr.
In addition there is 5.83 MWt and 89.7 TJ/yr for district heating and
10.13 MWt and 189.9 TJ/yr for greenhouse heating.

The total for the country is 1,410.26 MWt and 10,699.40 TJ/yr.

Taken from the paper by John W. Lund, Derek H. Freeston, and Tonya L. Boyd: "Direct Utilization of Geothermal Energy 2010 Worldwide Review"; published in Proceedings of the World Geothermal Congress 2010, Bali, Indonesia, 25-29 April 2010