The ‘Smart Grid: returns for everyone’ project develops and tests a series of new, up-scalable and user-supported services relating to the electricity distribution networks of the future in the Utrecht region. The tests are being conducted using two medium-sized smart grids each including one hundred households in Amersfoort and Utrecht. Because we work in existing neighbourhoods and there is intensive community involvement, we are able to co-create services that residents can really benefit from. HU University of Applied Sciences is investigating which services can meet the needs of residents in these neighbourhoods. The residents are the starting point in the project.
Goals and approach
Four services have been developed – E-car4all, Insight4all, Advice4all and Flex4all – each one providing a direct return for different target groups. For example, the E-car4all service offers residents of the Utrecht neighbourhood of Lombok the opportunity to use a shared Nissan Leaf (an electric car) by means of a reservation system. Insight4all provides insight into the consumption and production of energy by each household. For households with their own solar panels, there is Advice4all, which provides advice on what time to use the energy you have generated for optimum effect. The Flex4all service offers the ability to determine remotely the time when household equipment starts operating. This means that the household’s energy consumption can be modified in order to make maximum use of the solar energy.
HU University of Applied Sciences has coordinated this research into target groups. Students helped to discover which questions the residents had and services were developed through co-design to meet their needs.
The project should lead to two permanent local smart grids, each with about a hundred users, one in Lombok in Utrecht, the other in Nieuwland in Amersfoort. Renewable electricity that is generated in the neighbourhood is also used profitably in the same neighbourhood. These innovative smart grid services, which have proven their usefulness and can be scaled up in size, are now being prepared for introduction onto the market.
Lessons learned, successful approaches and knowledge relating to service development are actively shared for the duration of the project, so that both the regional economy and society as a whole can make maximum use of the proceeds of this project. The implementation of these newly designed services and the sharing of related knowledge are thus helping to make the transition to new forms of energy generation and consumption and the associated reductions in CO2 emissions.
HU University of Applied Sciences, Taskforce Innovation Utrecht Region, LomboXnet, Icasus, Eemflow Energy, Stedin, Ecofys, DNV KEMA, Capgemini, Utrecht University, the University of Groningen.
Province of Utrecht, City of Amersfoort, City of Utrecht.