Interview with Albert van den Noort, smart grids specialist at DNV Kema

'It is essential that parties have the same understanding of what a smart grid is and how it should be realized' PowerMatching City – is a live smart grid project involving 25 households in the Hoogkerk district in the northern part of the Netherlands.
Published: Wed 17 Oct 2012

The project has demonstrated that it is possible to create a smart grid with a corresponding market model, using existing technologies. DNV Kema is an exhibitor at Metering Europe.

What is the background to the PowerMatching City project – how did it start?

The PowerMatching City project started in 2007 to demonstrate in practice how large shares of decentralized energy resources (DER) and demand response work under normal grid conditions. At that time, the development of smart grids was in the very early stage and the main efforts were focused on studies. During the execution of the first phase of the project we built the first integrated smart grid solution and demonstrated it in real life conditions.

What have been the different partners’ contributions?

The partners and their roles for PowerMatching City are:

  • DNV KEMA: Project lead and consultancy on smart grid services and technologies
  • Essent/RWE: As energy supplier, the development and demonstration of new energy services in a smart grid environment
  • Enexis: As grid operator, to demonstrate the possibilities of capacity management
  • ICT Automatisering: Development of ICT smart grid solutions, as a system integrator
  • TNO: Development of the PowerMatcher
  • Gasunie: Demonstration of the possibilities of gas appliances in smart grid environments
  • Universities of Delft and Eindhoven and Hanzehogeschool Groningen: Research on several smart grid topics in the project.

What have been the most challenging aspects of the project?

Combining all the technologies involved in this project such as smart meters, hybrid heat pumps, micro-CHPs, electric vehicles and smart appliances, and making sure that all this equipment is interoperable. A big challenge was also to ensure that all partners and suppliers spoke the same language. In projects like PowerMatching City, it is essential that parties have the same understanding of what a smart grid is and how it should be realized.

What is the next phase?

In phase 1, we proved that the smart grid works from a technical point of view. In phase 2, we want to demonstrate what kind of impact a smart grid has on the end users by demonstrating new smart energy services.

How do you see its application evolving – what is your vision?

We believe that smart grids play an essential role in our future energy system. We believe that the share of renewable energy will only increase and that end users will increasingly provide in their own energy consumption. Smart grids are necessary to facilitate this.

What are you, as a team at DNV Kema, most proud of?

What we are most proud of is that we have realized a highly innovative system in practice that has previously been 'reality' on paper. PowerMatching City is clearly about a total concept smart grid and not about stand alone elements of a smart grid.

What are the different awards that you have received?

Recently the project was nominated for the Sustainia 100. Since the official start of the demonstration, the project has been visited by numerous politicians, policy makers, industries and media from all around the world.            

What will be the message at Metering Europe this year?

At the Metering Europe event, DNV KEMA will show the process and value chain for smart grids by showing our full smart grid portfolio. In his presentation Hans de Heer will talk about the cost-benefit analysis for smart grids.

You are inviting the media and delegates to attend the project up close, what will be on the programme for the site visit?

We will start in our office in Groningen, where we will outline and discuss the concept of PowerMatching City. Subsequently, we will visit our lab where all the equipment has been brought together. Then, after a good lunch, we will visit two households who are participating in the project.