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ManagEnergy is a technical support initiative of the Intelligent Energy - Europe (IEE) programme of the European Commission which aims to assist actors from the public sector and their advisers working on energy efficiency and renewable energy at the local and regional level.

Quatras energetica

A Dutch company's approach to provide low cost, secure energy for businesses

In the latest of a series of articles on Mobilising Local Energy Investment (MLEI), ManagEnergy looks at the prospects of Etriplus, a Dutch energy company aimed at providing low cost and secure energy supply for existing business. Secure, green and affordable supply will also help attract new business to the agro-industrial area of Greenport Venlo.

Supported by Intelligent Energy Europe, Etriplus is the energy development company of a consortium of DCGV, Alliander, Greenchoice, Arcadis and Ekwadraat. The objective: to develop an attractive proposition that will strengthen the competitive position for companies in the Greenport Venlo area.

Key stakeholders are area developers Californië, Freshpark and Siberië; the greenhouse owners, the agro-logistic companies, Etriplus, the local municipalities and the province of Limburg.

The conceptual approach of the project is based on the quatras energetica route.

1.      Energy savings

2.      Production of sustainable energy

3.      Energy from the environment. Energy exchange with other companies can optimize the energy consumption

4.      Fossil energy for the remaining energy demand.

 An energy concept based on these principles delivers cost optimizations due to less energy demand, price continuity and a lower carbon footprint – enabling a secure and sustainable supply for companies in the Greenport Venlo area.

Project promoters developed an Energy Masterplan, based on:

  • expected growth in energy demand based on the available space, expected type and number of new companies that are likely to establish in the coming years
  • Available sustainable resources in the direct surrounding like heat and cold storage, geothermal sources, biomass, green waste manure etc.
  • The zoning plan that is approved by the local municipalities and the regional government of Limburg
  • The expected developments in the coming 10 years of available techniques like solar pv, energy savings due to new materials and new building methods.
  • The complementarily of energy profiles of the different types of companies that are already established in the Greenport Venlo area or are going to be established in the future.

From this Masterplan (available here in Dutch), three projects received funding from MLEI:

·         heating network based on a geothermal source.

·         gas and heating network based on CHP and HTU (High temperature storage)

·         cold network and solar power

For each of these projects, a special purpose vehicle will be set up after financial close of the development phase. The development is done by Etriplus and its partners  (DCGV, Alliander, Greenchoice, Arcadis and Ekwadraat).

The development of geothermal energy and a District Heating Network (DHN) will result in less energy supply from the gas fired gas engines (CHP units) that are currently in operation at the greenhouses. The exact potential for reducing the carbon emissions will be calculated after the energy contracts with the greenhouse owners are signed.

The remaining heat will be supplied to agro logistic companies that will be connected to the DHN.

The ultimate success of the project is highly dependent on the rate at which energy demand will grow in the area, leading to a ‘chicken-and-egg’ situation between investors and energy consumers. The investors are unwilling to commit funds without being sure of the market; and more businesses will not choose to locate there without a secure and sustainable energy supply. 

Peter Elbers of DCGV explains:

‘This factor {rate of growth of energy demand in the area} is depending on a lot of circumstances that are out of the span of control of Etriplus and its partners. The possible financial gap cannot be filled by market parties because of the risks. Therefore, public parties like DCGV, the province of Limburg, the national government or the European Union will play a vital role in solving this issue.

The other lesson we have learned that the development of these projects often lead to a chicken-egg discussions between the investors and the energy consumers. The investors need a signed contract that gives assurance that the energy will be consumed at an agreed rate and for an agreed period of time, in order to receive financial close. The energy consumers on the other hand want assurance in advance about the specifications, volumes and price continuity prior to signing a contract. A close cooperation and communication between investors and consumers is essential to solve this issue.’

Learn more about the Energy4flexibility project here

Read about other Mobilising Local Energy Investment projects:

Interview with Steen Danielsen, coordinator of the first MLEI project

Energy saving in municipal buildings, ENSAMB : An innovative approach to financing building upgrades

Spain ACCELERATEs Mobilising Local Energy Investment in the Province of Huelva

Energies Posit’IF: Improving energy efficiency in French condominiums

The Low Carbon Hub: an innovative approach to funding community renewable energy projects