Together we are in the middle of an energy transition.

In the coming decades, we will switch to living without natural gas. Actually it was not that long ago when everyone switched from coal to natural gas. In the 1960s, almost the whole of the Netherlands was connected to the natural gas network. Such a transition is quite an entire operation that requires making some fundamental choices. The energy landscape is changing and that raises new questions. How much energy is available and how do we use it smartly? Can we use what is generated in the daytime, during the day? Will day and night tariffs be reversed in the long run? And is our current energy network suitable?

Showcasing LEF

At this moment it is virtually impossible to already be answering these questions Together, we will have to embark on the journey of discovery. Our current central energy network will increasingly change into a decentralized network. This makes it necessary to look at supply and demand in a different way. This requires pioneers, people and companies that demonstrate LEF and want to be progressive in order to discover what works and what doesn’t.

LEF in Hoog Dalem – Energy that be locally generated

Around 15 households in the Hoog Dalem district (Gorinchem) have demonstrated LEF, together these residents started a local energy market. This has been made possible by ABB, Energy21, i.LECO and Stedin. This energy project has a number of clear learning objectives. How much flexibility can be made available in the local market? How well does it succeed in coordinating supply and demand locally? Does this deliver a scalable business case?  And can this be applied to many more locations in the Netherlands? Research into the necessary hardware and software adjustments to improve the project is also a learning objective. This way, it is examined which houses’ data are relevant for residents, network operators and manufacturers so that the local energy market can be properly managed.

A smarter power grid is what we aim for with LEF in Hoog Dalem! The practical test in which households form one energy community. This community uses the energy that is generated together, and it is immediately exchanged and settled amongst each other. LEF does not only stand for Local, Energy and Flexibility, it is also a Dutch acronym meaning “courage”, which is what the people involved demonstrate by participating in this advanced energy project. With LEF, households generate as much energy as possible themselves, but if more energy is needed than what is generated, they will simply acquire energy from the existing power grid.

Read the official press release about LEF in Hoog Dalem here.

LEF in the future

For companies that are currently very advanced when it comes to new technologies and digitization, it is of great importance to maintain (or search for) the connection with the residents. This is the only way we ensure that there is support. The current discussions are mainly about which technique is best and how much all these techniques will cost. Proponents and opponents of these techniques tend to disagree with each other in that discussion. That doesn’t do much good in creating support. As a result, people adopt a wait-and-see attitude and postpone measures that contribute to the energy transition. This is a missed opportunity for both the residents and the companies. Let’s also demonstrate LEF together in the future, remaining critical when it comes to the best solution for that specific situation, but primarily, let’s invest energy into people and companies that demonstrate LEF. Remain open to share knowledge and experiences, so that we learn together what works and what doesn’t. This allows us to solve the challenges that this energy transition entails together, and work together towards a cleaner future.

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About the author

Kees Jan 't Mannetje

Sustainability and awareness are becoming increasingly important. The energy transition is in full swing. Kees Jan’t Mannetje has been working at ABB since 2004. In his role as a Business Development Specialist, he closely follows the developments in the field of energy transition. His expertise: digitization combined with social innovation, where his interest lies with new technologies. In practice, this means that he is working on new business models and concepts around Smart Energy Management. He was also involved with the development of the energy performance monitoring standard and a testing ground for setting up a local energy market where technology, digitization and social innovation come together. As a speaker, he knows how to inspire people with topics such as the new energy landscape, the role of digitization in this, and what the impact of social innovation is.
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