TKI S2SGs represent a relatively new field in the energy market and offers connections with almost all other themes. Smart Grids has been experiencing a turbulent development over the years. Several associations were formed the past year to develop test environments for ‘smart grids’, realising these in 2012-2013. SG is a key theme in the realisation of achieving the goals of the Energy Top Team. Furthermore, SG can be considered the main point of all other themes within the Energy Sector.
S2SGs contributes to all of Energy Top Team’s six goals
- 20% less CO2 emissions
- 14% sustainable energy
- To utilise the potentials of saving energy
- Competitive prices for energy, short-term and long-term
- To strengthen the position of the Netherlands in key sectors
- To make sure sustainable energy options mutually compete quicker
S2SGs first and foremost contributes to the first, second, fourth and – indirectly – sixth goal. Operating sustainable energy sources on a great scale, and the implementation of hundreds of thousands or even millions of electric cars – and cost-effective integration into the energy infrastructure and the energy market – is possible by SG only. Without SG these developments would lead to greater fluctuations in supply or demand for energy, causing greater fluctuations in prices and a higher imbalance of prices in the energy market. Plus, without SG investments would need to be made to upgrade the energy infrastructure.
Introducing ICT into the energy system creates more possibilities to balancing supply and demand and produces the opportunity to design and manage the energy infrastructure efficiently. The traditional method based entirely on demand can now be perfected by building on supply, too. Additionally, this means a smaller investment in conventional power plants is needed, requiring a better custom and more efficient use of energy networks. This leads to less CO2 emissions, more competitive prices and the enhancement of the attraction of (more) sustainable energy.
The TKI S2SG additionally contributes to the third goal. The use of ICT makes it possible to provide direct feedback on energy consumption to end-users. This leads to a greater awareness of the usage, which will then lead to a 3-10% save of energy according to several international studies. Those too will lead to less CO2 emissions and lower energy costs.
Lastly, SG makes a contribution to the fifth goal. SG has huge potential, though it is a complex issue with many stakeholders. The Netherlands is one of the precursors in SG investigation and has gained itself a good position, thanks to the activities of the Task Force on Smart Grids that was established by the (former) Ministry of Economic Affairs in 2010. The multitude of aforementioned initiatives and test environments offer an attractive prospect for companies and knowledge institutions as well. This is especially true for those in the ICT sector and consumer electronics, presenting their products and services in their own country but also, thanks to experiences in the test environments, to the international market. This will strengthen the position of the Netherlands, both in knowledge institutions as in the business world: creating more sales and more jobs. Many examples of successful projects in this field can be found in the innovation contract drawn up for Smart Grids.
In short, merely investing in central power in The Netherlands is similar to investing in fixed telephones while the whole world switches to mobile telephony.