Peter De Vylder outlined Veolia’s masterplan for community energyAt the Eeklo Heat Congress in April 2018 Peter De Vylder outlined Veolia’s masterplan (PDF, 91KB) for community energy. Key elements include:

  • Guarantee of heat delivery
  • 35% civic participation in the management consortium
  • Consumer prices competitive to gas heating
  • 100% renewable energy
  • Benefits to the community

The complete masterplan is expected to be released in autumn 2018.

The Eeklo Heat Conference attracted over 200 participants and ended with the symbolic signing of the first pipe segment of the new district heating network. 

Official homepage and further information.


Symbolic Launch of the Eeklo Heat Network
Symbolic Launch of the Eeklo Heat Network
Jan de Pauw of Ecopower outlines civic participation in the Eeklo Heat Network
Jan de Pauw of Ecopower outlines civic participation in the Eeklo Heat Network
Elsie Haertjens of the Provinvce of East Flanders guides participants through the congress agenda
Elsie Haertjens of the Province of East Flanders guides participants through the congress agenda
Conference delegates vote on the role of regional government in setting up community heat networks
Conference delegates vote on the role of regional government in setting up community heat networks


Project focus

The COBEN initiative is the next stage of the province’s “Energy Landscapes” strategy designed to promote a process towards energy self-sufficiency and climate neutrality. The clear focus is on the use of residual heat, production of green heat with biomass and the development of heating networks. The geographical focus will be the city of Eeklo so that it can evolve from a wind landscape to an energy landscape. Here a prototype will be developed that can be transferred to other municipalities in Flanders. Key activities include:

  • Facilitate the build-up of a consortium that allows the local neighborhood, citizens and stakeholders to take on ownership of sustainable energy production.
  • Facilitate the creation of a city-wide heating network with local biomass or residual heat.
  • Develop a blueprint and a PR campaign for adoption in other municipalities in Flanders


Targeted outcomes

In Eeklo, there is a great potential for rest heat, coming from a household waste incinerator. Until this day, an amount of heat - equivalent to 10 million m3 of gas p.a. is blown into the atmosphere. This amount of could heat the entire city of Eeklo via a heating network. Studies already indicated that such a heating network would be economically possible. The city of Eeklo is connected with the cooperative Ecopower. With its experience of tendering of wind turbines – some 5 years ago - the cooperative will help Eeklo in realizing its renewable energy potential and set up a heating network.

At the same time, a new swimming pool is being built in Eeklo, which will need heating. The city is looking to develop a micro heating network in the area, connecting the future heating installation of the pool with several large heat customers as well as potential private customers. This would be the first step towards a large city-wide heating network. To develop this micro heating network both the producer of heat, as the owner of the heating network and the ones who deliver the heat as well as the end consumers are interlinked within one consortium. In this way, no one single party would benefit from charging high prizes for their services but they would all be connected in an equilibrium. This kind of partnership is unprecedented in Flanders but quite common and shown successful in Denmark. In the COBEN project this micro heating network can be developed together with the preliminary work for the large heating network based on the same kind of consortium would be applicable. This scheme to be developed in Eeklo will be disseminated to other communities in the Province, e.g. the city of Ghent.


Community Benefits

  • Climate change mitigation at municipal level
  • Reduced energy costs for enrolled citizens
  • Increased attractiveness of municipalities with a sustainable energy base

Provincie Oost-Vlaanderen

Project focus

Het project Coben is een van de verschillende initiatieven die de Provincie Oost-Vlaanderen neemt in functie van haar beleid. De Provincie wil tegen 2050 een Klimaat Gezonde omgeving. Deze omgeving is dan niet alleen klimaat neutraal maar ook klimaatbestendig. Samen met het strategisch project Oost-Vlaanderen Energielandschap, faciliteren ze verschillende projecten en initiatieven, zoals Coben, die deze doelstelling ondersteunen. De focus van het project Coben ligt in de Vlaamse stad Eeklo. Na participatief project voor windenergie, wil de stad evolueren naar een energielandschap.
Onder andere met een verbrandingsoven en een houtige biomassa ketel willen ze het warmtenet voeden dat de stad en haar gebouwen (publieke, residentiële en bedrijfsgebouwen) voorziet van warmte.
Het project heeft de volgende opdracht:

  • Het opbouwen van een consortium dat de betrokkenheid van, de meerwaarde voor en het eigenaarschap van de omgeving includeert.
  • Het faciliteren in de uitrol van een warmtenetwerk met onder andere restwarmte en houtige biomassa.
  • Een dupliceerbare methodiek ontwikkelen voor het implementeren voor grote duurzame energie-installaties die voldoen aan bovenstaande opdracht.


  • CO2 emissie reductie
  • Warmtenet met restwarmte of duurzame groene energie zoals biomassa
  • Meerwaarde voor de omgeving
  • Eigenaarschap van de omgeving
  • Betrokkenheid en draagvlak vanuit de omgeving
  • Repliceerbare methodiek