High energy prices and greenhouse horticulture companies’ actions to control energy costs had a major impact on the sector’s energy use and CO2 emissions in 2022. The sector’s energy use fell sharply (-27%) and CO2 emissions also decreased sharply (-25%). This is according to Wageningen Economic Research’s ‘Energy Monitor of Dutch Horticulture 2022’.
Energy use per m2 dropped sharply
The study shows that the decrease in total CO2 emissions from horticulture in 2022 at the sector level was mainly due to lower energy use per m2. At the sector level, CO2 emissions were also dampened by decreases in electricity sales with natural gas CHP. Increased acreage in the Census of Agriculture, decrease in electricity purchases, decrease in renewable energy use, and less purchase of non-renewable heat from third parties had a CO2 emission increasing impact.
In 2022, total CO2 emissions from horticulture decreased by a quarter to 4.9 Mtonnes, down almost 1.7 Mtonnes from 2021. CO2 emissions from cultivation per m2 after temperature correction decreased more sharply than total CO2 emissions, reaching 31.5 kg/m2 (-30%). Because this indicator is not affected by outdoor temperature, sector area, and electricity sales, the lower energy use in this indicator has a greater impact.
Renewable energy use decreased
Renewable energy use decreased for the first time. In 2022, absolute renewable energy use fell by over 8%. Renewable energy use decreased on the one hand due to selective energy use by horticulture and higher production costs of renewable energy due to high energy prices. On the other hand, natural gas CHP heat was used more often than in previous years whenever possible instead of renewable heat when it was more financially attractive. Decreases in the use of renewable energy have a CO2 emission-increasing impact.
Acreage increased again
The area under greenhouses in the CBS Agricultural Census increased in 2022 as in 2019, 2020 and 2021. This growth follows a period of decline from 2010 to 2018. The growth of over 2% was smaller in 2022 than in 2021. The increase in acreage has a CO2 emission-increasing impact.
Wageningen Economic Research produces the Energy Monitor of Dutch greenhouse horticulture on behalf of the Knowledge in Your Greenhouse Foundation of the greenhouse horticulture sector and the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature, and Food Quality.
Source: WUR Energy Monitor