During the next few years, the Loenen municipality is hosting activities that will create the energy system of the future. In order to centrally manage the energy that is generated locally and merge this energy into a community-based Virtual Power Plant (cVPP), the Sustainable Projects Loenen Foundation (Stichting Duurzame Projecten Loenen) selected ICT Netherlands as its IT partner.
“ICT offers an excellent price/quality ratio. One of the reasons for selecting them as supplier of the system was the system’s early roll-out and delivery date. Moreover, the possibility to control extra devices beyond the scope of our request offered additional value”, says Willem Dikker Hupkes, chaiman of the Sustainable Projects Loenen Foundation (Stichting Duurzame Projecten Loenen). “During the last couple of years inhabitants and businesses already invested 1.25 million Euros in sustainability projects such as installing solar panels and insulation through Loenen Energy Neutral. The next step is to maximise the local consumption of the energy that was generated in a sustainable manner. This is the reason why we chose the EU level to initiate the cVPP project aimed at realising an Energy Management System.”
Expertise energy domain
A cVPP is a model in which citizens who generate and consume energy decentrally are connected virtually, thus creating one, single, large entity that generates and consumes energy.” Eric van der Laan, Business Development Executive Energy at ICT Group: “As a technical IT company we know what’s involved in the process of connecting sustainable equipment such as solar panels, heat pumps, electric cars and batteries. In addition, we offer a wealth of expertise in the energy domain. We understand the entire spectrum, the context, and we are thoroughly familiar with the future developments that may be relevant for the Loenen municipality. And of course we take all these factors into account during the project’s realisation phase.”
ICT Group has been carrying out similar projects during the last ten years. “In addition to the technical and organisational expertise, we have accumulated a good amount of experience in the various ways in which you can involve inhabitants in the project. And our experience resulted directly in a smart application.” Van der Laan is referring to Earn-e, a smart gateway that is installed in each household at the beginning of the project. “Giving inhabitants insight into the amount of energy they generate and consume themselves ensures that they’re actively involved.” Earn-e was developed by Wijkie, a young company that stimulates maximum local consumption of locally generated solar energy. Earn-e was one of the companies for whom ICT developed the platform. “But we have so many other partners who we can also involve providing it would add value to the project.”
Interreg NWE project
The project for realising a community-based Virtual Power Plant is part of the Interreg North-West Europe-project, led by the Eindhoven Technical University. The objective of the project for the Sustainable Projects Loenen Foundation (Stichting Duurzame Projecten Loenen) is to optimise the benefits achieved by generating sustainable energy within the community. The first phase entails solar cells, heat pumps and electric transport, while a field of solar panels and Smart Grid Ready Heat-installations will be added in the longer term. After its realisation, ICT Group will manage the project for a period of at least three years. The energy project of the future involves some 100 households and possibly more in years to come. Van der Laan concludes: “This project allows us to take a nice next step in our service portfolio towards energy communities in which we serve individual households, but where we can pay particular attention to the households as a group, resulting in a virtual energy station.”