Texel Community Aims for Self-Sustainability

The island of Texel in the Netherlands is creating its own energy infrastructure to become less dependent on the mainland.
Published: Wed 03 Dec 2014

In this live studio interview at European Utility Week, Greetje van den Bann, Collaborator, Texel Energie, gives Engerati an update on the sustainable energy pilot project on the island of Texel, just off the mainland of the Netherlands.

Self-sustainable energy infrastructure

The aim of the project, involving 300 households, is to create a fully self-sustainable energy infrastructure. Home to 13,000 residents, the island enjoys an abundance of wind and sun which the community aims to harness for the development of clean energy. “The residents are very environmentally aware and want their island to use clean energy. They want to become less dependent on the mainland and the big energy companies.”

Through the use of smart meters, supplied by utility Alliander, participants in the pilot have access to generation levels – which can be predicted 24 hours ahead – and consumption habits. This data, communicated via a consol in the household, will help households manage their energy consumption better. Energy prices are also predicted a day ahead so consumers can manage their energy costs. Prices can range dramatically based on energy availability so this capability is very useful for consumers. There is one computer transmitting the data and it is self-learning which means that data is becoming increasingly accurate with time.

The challenges

Large-scale deployment of wind turbines is a source of concern for Texel’s tourism sector as these may detract from the natural beauty of the island. Tidal power may be an alternative to the turbines.

The hyper-connection of the entire energy system and all of its energy sources was another major challenge. Feeding the system with quality data is also critical, explains van den Bann. Other challenges include system integration and the range of systems connection.

“For a project like this to work, it is important to have the right people in place, as well as the appropriate technology,” explains van den Bann. It also helps that the community wants their island to be green, she says. “Other communities may need a financial incentive to get this project to work.”