Hoogeveen wants to accelerate construction in Nijstad-Oost, but is still aiming for hydrogen use

Hydrogen is delaying the construction of the new Nijstad-Oost district, according to some politicians in Hoogeveen. The houses will soon have to run on the energy source, but preparing it will take too long, according to a council majority. The municipal council believes that the project can be completed faster, but hydrogen remains the priority.

There has been no reason or signal that the use of hydrogen will cause a delay, the council reports in a letter to the municipal council.

In particular, the allocation of land, special yards with space for several houses, is not going well, the municipal council previously announced. People have to register together on a property, and that has not yet proven to be a success.

The distribution of the inheritances will soon start to the people who have registered together. After this period, Hoogeveen wants to offer the remaining land to project developers. This should accelerate the construction of Nijstad-Oost.

With the letter, the council responds to a motion that a number of political parties want to submit during the budget discussion on Thursday. The VVD, the CDA, Municipal Interests and the SGP want Hoogeveen to move away from hydrogen in the Nijstad-Oost project. They argue to look at other forms of energy, such as electricity. They think this means that the houses can be built faster.

The municipal council says it is taking into account the fact that hydrogen may cause delays. However, this has not been observed. Only once the land of the yards has been divided does Hoogeveen want to see whether hydrogen really poses an obstacle to the speed of the construction of Nijstad-Oost. Hydrogen therefore remains the priority.

It recently became clear that the conversion from natural gas to hydrogen in Nijstad-Oost has been postponed. The Netherlands Authority for Markets and Consumers (ACM) has not yet given its approval. The ACM ensures that the conversion from natural gas to hydrogen is properly arranged in terms of safety. They also check whether the consumer is well protected. That process is taking longer than expected, the municipality said.

The existing Erflanden district is located on the other side of Nijstad-Oost. A hundred houses in that neighborhood also need to be converted to switch from natural gas to hydrogen. This was to be done last summer as a test at twelve homes. That was not successful, because the ACM has not yet given permission for this project.

Both the Nijstad-Oost and Erflanden projects are closely linked in the large hydrogen project. “These components are closely related to the associated business case,” the municipal council writes in the letter to the council. So there is a lot at stake.