Nieuwveense Landen Meppel

Location: Meppel, the Netherlands

Partner Organization: The municipality of Meppel, Rendo Duurzaam B.V.

meppel

Building a pleasant and sustainable neighborhood

The municipality of Meppel, a town in the north of the Netherlands, aims to supply the new neighborhood, Nieuwveense Landen, exclusively with locally-generated sustainable energy. The energy-producing neighborhood will give residents a central role in their energy supply, taking real-time control of their energy usage and production. Over the next twenty years, the project will develop some 3,400 homes, with the goal of creating a “pleasantly sustainable area.” The program will provide comfortable amenities for residents including energy efficient heating and cooling for their homes, as well as provisions for easy installation of photovoltaic panels and charging points for their electric cars. These amenities will be powered by sustainable energy resources, including biogas-fired combined heat and power (CHP) plants and aquifer thermal energy storage. This smart energy infrastructure will allow residents to experience lower energy costs and an increased service level.

The intelligent energy concept

The neighborhood’s intelligent energy concept is unique in three ways. First, the energy supply system forms a fully integrated entity, where local gas and electricity infrastructures interchange energy to make optimal use of the biogas and heat that is extracted from the area’s waste water streams. Additionally, a district heating and cooling system will be applied; low-temperature heat from the wastewater treatment plant is upgraded locally in the homes using individual heat pumps. Furthermore, raw biogas is transported to the neighborhood, where it is converted into electricity and heat using CHP units.

The goal is to generate all required energy sustainably within the neighborhood and the direct surroundings, with its own local energy company, named MeppelEnergie. MeppelEnergie will act as investor and operator of the energy infrastructure and will take care of the residents’ heating and cooling needs.

Lastly, the project aims to have the energy network’s users, or “prosumers,” play a prominent role in the energy supply. To this extent, the homes will be prepared for the future integration of an intelligent energy system. This system will potentially enable prosumers to regulate their electricity usage — for example, by matching the electricity demand of their washing machines, driers or electric cars to the output of the solar panels on their roofs. The system will also be capable of actively responding to movements in the market price of electricity, so that the offering of flexibility in energy consumption can be translated into financial benefits for the end user.

On January 26, 2012, MeppelEnergie was officially established, setting the first step towards the realization of this pleasantly sustainable neighborhood. A distinction has been made between a Smart Grid for MeppelEnergie’s heat and cold supply system, and a Smart Grid for the homes. The Smart Grid for the heat and cold supply system is under development. The Smart Grid system for the homes is currently still in the research
and development phase.

Creating the energy vision and business case

DNV KEMA has acted as an advisor for the municipality of Meppel, and has created an energy vision, a realization strategy, and a business case for the intelligent energy system that will later supply Nieuwveense Landen with sustainable electricity. The goal of the business case was to minimize the project’s dependence on subsidies, by developing a feasible approach for implementing the intelligent energy system using current state-of-the-art technology, while still reflecting the current regulatory environment.  Further, DNV KEMA developed an implementation plan, suggesting the best way to launch the neighborhood’s Smart Grid in practice, taking into account the technical feasibility, the financial viability, the existing regulatory context, and the stakeholders’ interests. Together with its partner Rendo Duurzaam, the municipality has established MeppelEnergie that will supply heat and cold to the homes sustainability, making optimal use of the available residual energy from the surroundings — biogas and waste heat from the nearby wastewater treatment plant.

Technical overview

The Dutch municipality of Meppel has set a goal to realize an energy-producing neighborhood that will take shape over the next twenty years. With DNV KEMA Energy & Sustainability’s help, the municipal authority has developed plans for a sustainable energy supply sourced from local resources. The Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment has designated Nieuwveense Landen as a flagship project for the Netherlands, as it sets a promising example that could be applied to other areas in the country.

Technologies used:

Energy Service Company (ESCO), Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI), Distributed Energy Resources (DER), Demand Side Management, Real-time Pricing signals (RTP), Advanced Distribution Automation (ADA), Distributed Control Systems (DCS), Telecommunications and more.

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We looked particularly at the interests of the neighborhood’s future residents.

Irin Bouwman

DNV KEMA Energy & Sustainability