Renewable energy at WUR

Where do we stand in the energy transition at WUR and what are our plans for the future?

WUR Energy Transition 2050

The route to CO2-neutral energy supply at WUR is set out in the WUR Outline Energy Transition 2050. This plan outlines the ambition and necessary measures, such as heat pumps, LED lighting and energy-neutral newbuild projects.   

WUR's sustainability plans follow the steps of the ‘Trias Energetica’ concept. This means:

  • Step 1. Reduce the energy demand
  • Step 2. Use energy from renewable and/or sustainable sources
  • Step 3. Use finite fossil and other energy sources efficiently

In all the steps WUR takes, operational reliability and affordability are crucial. After all, research must not be compromised by equipment failure, for example. WUR therefore pays attention to security of supply. And, of course, affordability, which we can achieve through central procurement, among other things. 

In addition, WUR checks whether suppliers of sustainable energy match WUR's mission and vision. For the future, it is also important that providers explicitly include the measures described in the Charcoal Sketch Energy Transition WUR 2050 in their offerings. 

What is WUR planning to do?

  • Insulation
  • Electrification of the heat demand
  • Storing energy for later use (because the sun does not always shine and the wind does not always blow)
  • Implementing energy-saving measures by optimising mechanical and electrical installations
  • Generating its own solar and wind energy (e.g. on WUR roofs or WUR grounds)

What has WUR achieved?

Wind energy

WUR has 26 wind turbines in Lelystad. In a good wind year, they supply about as much power as WUR consumes. These wind turbines supply directly to the high-voltage grid through a smart grid network that also connects solar and batteries. 

Solar energy

More and more roofs of WUR buildings are providing solar energy. 

In 2023, the yield was around 4,500 MWh (this is 1,000 times more than the consumption of a family home). 

The largest generation took place at the Edelhertweg in Lelystad. About 1,700 MWh was produced there. 

Output is expected to increase in the future. Over the next 2 to 4 years, total generation is expected to grow to about 5,500 MWh. This is about 10% of the electricity purchased by WUR. 

Current wind and solar energy 

Our dashboard gives an overview of the current amount of wind and solar energy generated by WUR in the past 30 days. 

Heat Cold Storage 

By connecting buildings on Wageningen Campus to the Aquifer Thermal Energy Storage (also called the ATES-loop), we will save around 75% natural gas for the whole of WUR by 2025 (compared to 2019). 

The ATES-loop in WUR-building Orion
The ATES-loop in WUR-building Orion

Thermal Storage is a sustainable energy supply in which heat and cold are stored 90 metres deep in the ground via a heat exchanger and water wells. In summer, a building is cooled with water from the cold wells. In winter, a building is heated with water from the warmth wells. This is done via the same heat exchanger, but now in combination with a heat pump. 

Cooperation between WUR’s operational management and research  

WUR is working on energy transition in two areas: in WUR’s own research into the energy transition in the Netherlands and abroad, and in WUR’s own operational management.   

Connecting these two areas offers ample opportunities to link knowledge and expertise from both sides. What this can yield is:  

  • role models and showcases for the surrounding area and partners;
  • small-scale learning and upscaling on Campus;
  • accelerating or enabling research projects;
  • walk the talk. Doing green = being green;
  • connection between education, research and buildings.

WUR has set up two researchprojects since 2022 . One is about research in the field of energy generation and storage. The other focuses on exploring the possibilities of behavioural change by setting up experiments. 

More about renewable energy at WUR