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October 11, 2012

In the Netherlands, a Smart Grid 'Inspiration and Demonstration' Center Opens Its Doors



A new smart grid “inspiration and demonstration center” called Watt Connects has opened its doors and its website at the Energy Business Park Arnhems Buiten in Arnhem, in the eastern region of the Netherlands. Financing for the initiative has been provided by Arnhem, called the “City of Electricity,” as well as the province in which it is located, Gelderland.

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Energy expert DNV KEMA of Arnhem; regional network administrator Liander, national network administrator TenneT, and project developer TCN of Utrect are partners in the initiative. Watt Connects bundles and reinforces its partners’ smart grid knowledge and development power.

The center particularly targets energy professionals and experts, such as administrators or policy makers, energy company experts, and experts of companies that supply or manufacture intelligent energy services or products, as well as students. Watt Connects serves as a network for these professionals and a breeding ground for start-up companies. The ultimate ambition is to expand into an international center.

Visitors will experience how a future intelligent and sustainable energy network works in practice, and learn the benefits. Watt Connects simulates and demonstrates smart grid installation and start-up in practical situations on a relatively small scale that doesn’t require significant investment costs and risk factors. In addition to new technology, services and applications, there are simulation tools that visitors can use. Workshops, lunchtime lectures, and presentations also are available at the center, as well as organized network sessions.

Annemieke Traag, a delegate from the province of Gelderland who is responsible for environmental policy, climate, energy and innovation, commented, “The opening of Watt Connects gives a boost to numerous initiatives for local energy generation in Gelderland and stimulates innovations. This brings the energy transition another step closer!”

“I am proud of the arrival of this innovative demonstration centre,” said Margreet van Gastel, Arnhem alderwoman for Environmental Affairs. “Arnhem is traditionally a city of electricity with prominent organizations [based here] such as DNV KEMA, Liander, and TenneT. This center is proof that Arnhem is justified to call itself a City of Electricity; whereby explicit attention is also focused on the future and on corresponding innovations.”

According to Frits Verheij, chairman of the Watt Connects Steering Group, “The Netherlands is one of the global frontrunners in the area of knowledge and demonstration of intelligent energy networks. “Founding Watt connects is an important step, not only for retaining this position, but also for reinforcing it. We are, therefore, happy that energy is one of the top sectors of the Dutch government, and that smart grids play a significant role in this.”




Edited by Brooke Neuman
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