Tomato grower Frank van Kleef of Royal Pride believes a lot can still be done regarding cooperation between the horticultural and industrial sectors in the field of energy management. ‘There are a lot of opportunities, particularly in places where the sectors are located close to each other, such as Westland and the Rotterdam harbour.’
According to the entrepreneur, the same is also true for the development of geothermal energy. ‘It is still in its infancy. However, for the greenhouse horticultural sector, it is essential to be economical with the available energy and to make optimal use of the alternatives to fossil fuels.’
Van Kleef is critical of developments such as heating residential areas with waste heat from greenhouse horticulture. ‘It is expensive to move heat from one place to another and I am, therefore, not in favour of it.’ He also does not think that bringing both segments physically closer is a viable option. ‘In other areas, horticulture and home owners get in each other’s way. In my opinion, the best way to help each other is to return energy to the grid at exactly the right time.’
Microsoft data centre
Royal Pride is located at Agriport A7, where the entrepreneurs cooperate as much as possible where energy is concerned. Microsoft recently built a large data centre there and, according to Frank van Kleef, that offers excellent opportunities for sustainable, mutual cooperation.
He is convinced that a lot can be gained by working together, particularly in the field of energy management. ‘The greenhouse horticultural sector should stop putting itself first all the time. The interests of the whole should be given priority over the interests of the individual.’
During the journeys that he regularly makes, Van Kleef has noticed that foreign countries do not take advantage of the lessons that have been learnt in the Netherlands. ‘Abroad, horticultural companies too often choose to be located far away from their fellow horticultural companies. I would rather have my competitors as my neighbours than have no neighbours at all.’
In his opinion, in order to achieve the international environmental and energy objectives, the greenhouse horticultural sector must look for worldwide solutions. ‘With the same investment, greater advances can be made abroad than in the Netherlands, where great progress has already been made over the last couple of years.’
Watch the video with Frank van Kleef about energy management.