Sample menu of environmental plans for the energy transition

The energy transition is one of the biggest challenges facing the Netherlands in the coming decades and will have a major impact on the physical living environment. The transition to a sustainable energy supply is changing the landscape around residential areas, business parks, city centres and the countryside.  Municipal authorities are faced with significant challenges. To offer guidance in creating an environmental plan, several models and templates - collectively known as a sample menu - have been developed. The sample menu includes concrete rules for facilitating, stimulating and regulating the energy transition, as well as for inspiring municipalities.

Both large-scale sustainable energy production - for example, wind farms and high-voltage cables - and small-scale initiatives, such as solar panels, have an impact on the living environment. Every type of application needs space - usually more than the space already being used to supply fossil fuel-based energy. The Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management intends for the sample menu to inspire and assist the parties responsible for implementation - such as municipalities - in creating an environmental plan for the energy transition.

The sample menu is a selective, cohesive and illustrative representation of the physical living environment; the activities of citizens, companies and government agencies; and the instruments for controlling and managing these.

Witteveen+Bos, AT Osborne, Over Morgen and H+N+S developed the sample menu as part of a community that also included representatives from government and society. This ensured that the menu aligned with users’ daily practice.

The energy transition is not yet an ‘established practice’. Many things are new. Besides the familiar solar and wind energy solutions, there are an abundance of options available, including energy storage, a neighbourhood battery or home insulation. The sample menu accounts for this fact by ensuring that energy is not depicted as an industry issue, but rather one to be integrated in general decision-making on the physical living environment. Among other things, legal regulations based on Environment and Planning Act legislation have been drafted with this in mind. The menu is also an attractive source of inspiration for developers of environmental plans for a natural-gas-free built environment.

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