Showcase Zaanstad

On Nov. 11th 2014, the well-known Dutch specialist on sustainability issues Jan Paul van Soest presented a lecture on ‘Energy in the Zaanstad area’.  In the audience representatives of the local business community, civil servants, politicians, local energy cooperatives and other stakeholders. Jan Paul argued the necessary energy transition will ask for local initiatives, and he thinks – as we do at e-harbours – heavy industry has a large role to play in that local cooperation. Also, he stressed the need to impose a decent price for CO2 emissions – otherwise the energy transition will merely stimulate the use of cheap coal…..

See the Powerpoint-presentation here (in PDF format): Zaanse energie. It is mainly in Dutch, with some slides in English. Have a look at slide 13, which presents an overview of an energy system without fossil fuels, a vision for 2050 !


Report from the e-harbours programma (2011 – 2014) :

In the municipality of Zaanstad 2 case studies have been performed:

  • “ReloadIT”, development of a smart grid system
    • Addendum: Innovative energy contract
    • Addendum: Green power to heat
  • “Hoogtij”, development of an industrial area
    • Addendum: “Hemmes”, development of a residential area

Case study: ReloadIT

plaatje StadhuisProject description:
Case study “REloadIT” implies the development of a smart grid system: an ICT-platform and a real smart grid based on a configuration of a car park of electric vehicles, and renewable resources, i.e. solar panels and wind turbines. The second part of the case study implies an analysis on the viability of potential business cases.

What we have done

REloadIT, the development of a smart grid system
Within the REloadIT project a smart grid system has been developed tested to examine whether the benefits of renewable energy production can be matched with flexible energy consumption.
The smart grid application has been developed and deployed by the Dutch company EnergyGO. It comprises two major functions: the car reservation system, and the demand side management system.
The algorithm of the DMS is based on optimisation of the reservations of the cars, the weather forecasts, and the load management system of the battery charger.

The smart grid algorithm is based on the following rules:

      • Maximize the use of the available renewable energy (three or four solar energy systems and an optional (virtual) wind turbine) to charge the electric cars.
      • Guarantee that the state of charge of each electric car is sufficient for the next planned travel. Taken into account the calendar containing travel times, travel distance, and time the battery has to be fully charged.
      • Charge the batteries as much as possible at low energy tariffs.

Potential business cases
As part of the evaluation of the present smart grid configuration, several business cases were analysed to see which business case is the most viable one. The search for flexibility is the basis for the analysis.

The parameter which is determinative for the value of a smart grid application is called flexibility. The definition of flexibility used within the scope of project eharbours is:
The percentage of cost reduction of the energy bill, by exploiting the flexibility within a process. In the Zaanstad show case that is: the ability to shift electricity usage in time and intensity, by influencing the charging current of the batteries of the electrical vehicles.

Predefined business models
For the REloadIT showcase we analysed Contract optimization and Trading on the wholesale market. For a 1000 cars case study, we analysed a business case with Trading on the wholesale market. Due to the actual small scale of the REloadIT showcase Offer reserve capacity and Offer further grid stabilization were not suitable as viable business models.

Business cases analyzed


The investigated business cases are presented in the table above. Business case Cluster(1000) cars, is based on the fictitious rollout of 1000 charging stations upcoming years in the region at 35 municipalities.

Innovative energy contract
Inspired by the energy specialists of the e-harbours team, the idea emerged to start an energy procurement based on new smart energy elements: balancing, flexibility, apx market, esco-experiences, and local (green) energy production.
Building upon the knowledge of the energy market gained in the e-harbours project, the Municipality of Zaanstad has recently negotiated a new energy contract with distributor GreenChoice. Zaanstad has been working on its own Smart Grid by charging the batteries of its electric cars (project ReloadIT) and consumes energy from their own windturbines and PV-systems. These aspects inspired Zaanstad to impose a different role on the supplier. The energy distributeur is supposed to act as a proactivie partner that shares their specialized knowledge on energy matters that is benificial to the goals of the municipality.

The following tasks are delegated to the potential energy suppliers:

      • Support the municipality on changing the energy profile in order to reduce the energy bill.
      • Be committed to reduce our energy consumption at a fixed percentage each consecutive year.
      • Provide locally produced green energy by investing in the local production of renewables.
      • Help optimizing the trading of our renewable energy.
        Read more about the contract on: Boekje-Energie-inkoop-congres-ENG-versie

Green power to heat
An other spin off at the Municipality of Zaanstad was the cooperation with different stakeholders on the development of a “smart and open energy system”. This system aims to reuse residual industrial heat for housing, hospitals, swimming pools etc. The basis idea is to introduce balancing capacity/flexibility with the heating system.
Read more about the contract on:



      • A cost reduction of 10% by trading on the APX market is feasible.
      • A cost reduction of 20% is feasible by trading on the APX market, combined with a windturbine on the local estate.
      • Electric cars seem to be the ultimate source of flexibility (15-30%). NOTE: Although physical limitations of batteries reduce the life cycle of the batteries, caused by the number of charge- discharge algorithms.
      • Financial gains seems to be a main driver by avoiding taxes and networks costs.
      • Present energy tariff i.e. the taxes versus net energy prices hamper exploitation of flexibility.


      • The present definition of private network avoids exploitation of renewable sources of energy other than on the local estate. Regional up scaling is thereby hampered.
      • It takes a lot of effort to change existing operational processes and habits.
      • Different organisational procedures or governance is needed to realise local owned smart grids based on renewable. Public Private Partnerships (PPP) can be a complicating solution for this type of projects.
      • Responsibilities (i.e. ownership, maintenance and operations) were divided between different organisations/departments of Zaanstad or were subcontracted activities.
      • How to better involve/embed the ICT department in future projects it is suggested to define preconditions concerning ICT-security aspects, and internal ICT-standards.


      • Upscaling of the Zaanstad show case with more flexible energy consumers. Opportunities at Zaanstad: integration of water pumps, combined water and energy storage, and renewable energy systems (wind and solar).
      • Policy influencing for more flexible interpretation of the definition of a private net.
      • Policy influencing for more flexible tariff structure for private customers to enter the flexibility market.
      • Arrange regional and national netwerks to start exchanging best practices;
      • Embed organisational guidelines to established local owned smart grids based on integration of renewable energy in the management system. Requirements of organisations, skills, expertise, finances and capacity:
    • Make a check list of crucial information and requirements and an overview of the responsible persons within organisations to get access towards this information;
    • Characteristic of a smart grid demonstration project is that different organisations are involved. Which persons have the right competence and authority to make the needed decisions.

Reports and more information

News and updates

In the media





Case study: HoogTij

luchtfoto HoogTij
Project description
Case study HoogTij is an example of the development of a smart energy network within an industrial area, a nice example of  “how to get smart from the start”. The study comprises a technical and economical assessment of a feasible configuration of a large building, a possible heat production system, and renewable energy resources. This study should result in viable business cases.  Next to this assessment, the organizational and legislative aspects were examined.

What have we done

The question was: How can we develop new industrial areas and integrate energy matters right from the start? The development of industrial area HoogTij implied integration of renewable energy sources from the start, yet it was struggling with the viability of potential business cases. Moreover, a network for production of heat and cold is part of the energy infrastructure.
Several concepts for renewable energy production were examined. However, exploiting the flexibility in a smart energy network was not yet considered.

HoogTij_case study_2
Figure 1: Proposed smart grid scenario. Production of heat is optimized to the availability of wind energy, by using heat storage in building mass or heat buffer tanks

The showcase HoogTij proposes a smart energy network, which includes the following main components:

  • Three or four wind turbines
  • A district heat/cold network with heat pumps
  • Buildings connected to the heat/cold network
  • Active and passive heat storage, to provide flexibility in the production of heat.

In the scenarios “private and smart grid” we assumed a private grid where wind energy can be traded ‘off the grid’ since they share the same grid connection and e.g. transport costs can be avoided.

Analysed scenarios
The following scenarios where analysed:

  • Business as usual (the base line)
  • Contract optimization; making use of day/night tariffs
  • Private grid; the heat pump shares a grid connection with one of the wind turbines.
  • Smart grid; wind energy use is optimized.

Feasibility study Hemmes peninsula
HoogTij_case study_3





The Hemmes peninsula is a residential area, yet to be developed. It comprises the construction of 80 dwellings, to be combined with 6 authentic ”Zaanse”wind mills. The study compises an analysis  of the energy balance and the economic  feasibility of the project.
The configuration examined consists of 6 wind mills, 80 all electric dwellings, each having an electric car,  solar panels, and heat pump.

  • The yield of this configuration is adequate to cover the energy demand of the whole peninsula.
  • There is not a business case as:
    • The present legislation does not allow the establishment of a private elecytric network, a network that could be used to locally balance electricity, thus avoiding transport and energy taxes.
    • The busines case depends on subsidies, which are subject to policy, thus not guaranteed for a period of 20 years.


HoogTij_case study_4






Figure 2 Results of energy costs and the fraction of wind energy that is used in different scenarios of the simulation.

  • The economic benefits are so significant, that a heat network combined with a smart grid can provide a profitable business case i.e. 8 to 23%.
  • The business case could be more profitable in case the wind turbine is placed on the private estate and the energy can be traded directly (private and smart grid scenarios). The added value of the flexibility turned out to be an additional cost saving of up to 5%.


  • The present definition of private network avoids exploitation of renewable sources of energy other than on the local estate. Regional up scaling is thereby hampered.
  • Due to Dutch law the placement of wind turbines on shore have been limited or even stopped.
  • Present energy tariffs i.e. the amount of taxes versus net energy prices hamper exploitation of flexibility.

Reports and more information

News and updates

  • Analysis and simulation model of the industrial site HoogTij: description – Netlogo
    For more information Simon Lubach

    • March 2013: Recent results in presentation: PDF
    • January 2013: Read more general information: Flyer Showcase HoogTij
    • Sept 2012: Student Simon Lubach, University of Technology Eindhoven, designed a research proposal on the question: “How can smart grids contribute to the continuous availability of clean and affordable energy in industrial areas?” Research proposal Lubach. 





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