NWO grant for research into Flexible Energy Communities

Published on
April 20, 2022

How can you achieve climate goals through energy projects in a fair way? That is the aim of a research project into flexible energy communities led by Wageningen University & Research. This project recently received a NWO grant within the special NWO call ‘Energy transition as a socio-technical challenge’.

The energy transition is an interdisciplinary challenge, which should be approached from a societal perspective and its realisation should go hand in hand with research into technical solutions for it. Important aspects of this are describing the motives of end users, making an inventory of which technological innovations can accelerate the transition and how the involvement of citizens and other direct stakeholders can be increased.

Flexible Energy Communities:coupling e-mobility and energy communities

Energy communities (ECs) are seen as one of the cornerstones of the sustainable energy transition. Yet, ECs’ success is limited by two main factors:

  • grid capacity at distribution system level
  • the ability and willingness of people, public and private entities to engage in joint activities in the energy sector by means of forming a community

This project investigates whether ‘mobile’ ECs, based on electrical vehicles, can address these limitations. Specifically, electrical vehicles provide opportunities for energy transport outside the fixed grid, as well as broadening the range of communities that can form ECs.

Diagram - 02.jpg

Dr. Mashhoodi, project leader assistant professor of Digital Landscapes at Wageningen University & Research, adds: “The concept of ‘energy communities’ recently gained attention. Yet, ECs are bound to people living in local proximity. For example, apartments, streets, neighbourhoods, or villages. There is a need for bottom-up approaches which allow like-minded people living in different places to jointly participate in ECs, too. Could problems associated with the fixed energy grid infrastructure be solved by creating mobile ECs, which utilize the unused flexibility potential of electric vehicles for the transport and trading of electricity? And, if so, how? Could electric vehicles help replacing local proximity with social proximity?”

This interdisciplinary research project has a maximum duration of six years and will start in mid-2022.

Co-applicants: Prof. dr. E. Steg (RUG), Prof. dr. M. Bakker (WUR), Dr. ir. G. Chandra Mouli (TUD), Prof. dr. ir. P. Bauer (TUD), Dr. T. Bouman (RUG), Prof. mr. Dr. M. Roggenkamp (RUG), E. van Leeuwen (WUR), Dr. J. Veldstra (RUG), Dr. L. Diestelmeier LLM (RUG), Dr. S. Halleck Vega (WUR)

Co-financiers: Arcadis, Gemeente Groningen, Generation Energy, ESRI Netherlands, Gemeente Wageningen, Heliox, TRIP Advocaten)

Partners: Aeres, ING Bank