Sustainable Ameland

Ameland wants to be ahead of the rest of the Netherlands by some 15 years where the energy transition is concerned. Ultimately, this Wadden island wants to be able to meet most of its energy requirements itself, with power and heat generated by sustainable sources. The fact that this ambition is supported by the municipality and many companies and residents makes Ameland the ideal testing ground for implementation of the sustainable energy supply of the future. EnTranCe is grateful for the opportunity to use this testing ground, together with the partners of the Sustainable Ameland convention: the municipality of Ameland, Gasterra, Signify, Eneco, NAM, Liander and TNO.

An integral and sustainable energy system

Ameland is already well on the way to achieving sustainability: for example, it has a solar park, many buildings have heat pumps and all of the street lights there use energy-efficient LED bulbs. However, full self-sufficiency will not be possible if sustainable solutions are only considered in isolation of each other. ‘These challenges require an integral approach that puts the needs of residents first. Ultimately, the various technologies need to come together to form one joint sustainable energy system’, says Aagje van Meerwijk, researcher and Local Communities theme coordinator at EnTranCe.

Technical, economic and social consequences

The development of a sustainable and integral energy system of this nature is a very complex process. Many choices need to be made, each of which will have technical, economic and social consequences. Which sustainable energy sources will ensure that there is always enough clean energy to supply the island and the NAM production platform just off the coast? Is there support for wind turbines and solar parks? How do we ensure that the supply of sustainable energy is in balance with demand? How can we work with the community to make housing stock sustainable?

Scenarios and charettes

The covenant partners are considering the future supply of energy to Ameland from the perspective of a number of different disciplines and are developing various scenarios. Our students also regularly sail across to the island to do research. In line with the EnTranCe motto – ‘People in Power’ – the residents of Ameland are playing an important role in the development of a vision for the future too. In discussion meetings (so-called charettes), residents express their views on what they do and do not want. People on the island also regularly initiate change themselves. For example, making the kitchen of a restaurant gas-free. The ultimate aim is for the scenarios and consultation with residents to result in one story and one outlook for the future that will enable Ameland to lead the way in the energy transition.

Lessons learned from Ameland

‘On Ameland, we see how technologies that have proved themselves in the lab work in practice and in conjunction with other energy solutions. We learn a lot from this. Not just about the technology itself, but about economic aspects, the behaviour of users and social acceptance too’, says Van Meerwijk. ‘It is important to EnTranCe to be able to use the lessons learned from Ameland to accelerate energy transition as a whole.’

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