The trends and developments signal that the drive towards more sustainable energy is set to accelerate sharply. Our stakeholders expect us to make a substantial contribution towards the new energy landscape. To this end, we have defined a clear four-pillar strategy.
1 Support customers in making choices
Customers are gaining more and more influence over the energy system. Incentives can encourage them to make choices that not only work out well for them, but also for our energy system as a whole. More specifically, we need to make it attractive for customers to buy energy in times of abundance, sell energy in times of scarcity and refrain from using the energy network at peak times. To achieve this, we need to apply variable energy pricing (the scarcer energy is at a certain time of day, the higher the price) and variable transmission tariffs (based on peak loads on the transmission networks) for all customers. That way, they can decide for every 15-minute or hourly time slot whether using, selling or storing energy is the best option for them. Clearly, this decision-making process must be automated in order to minimise the time customers need to manage their energy. Alliander is facilitating this process. In the coming years, we will offer smart meters enabling billing per 15-minute or hourly time slot to all our customers. And we will also help customers to exchange energy among themselves.
2 New open networks
The construction of alternative infrastructures may prevent the need for costlier investments in the existing network. If, for instance, a local community wants to install heat pumps in every individual home, the demand for electricity in that area will rise sharply (especially on cold days). The electricity network would require a substantial upgrade to meet this increased demand. It is vital to ascertain with all stakeholders whether this is the cheapest and most sustainable solution. At a local level, an alternative infrastructure (such as a heating or biogas network) may be a better option. That is why Alliander is investing in the development of alternative energy networks. It is crucial to ensure that this new infrastructure remains accessible ('open') to everyone under equal conditions. Universal access makes these networks more affordable, as the costs can be shared among more users. Added to this, facilitating the market in this respect forms an important element of our corporate social responsibility.
Ongoing ICT innovation is rapidly giving rise to new digital opportunities for network operation. These new technologies allow us to quickly detect and even prevent faults, make more targeted investments in the networks and offer customers the data they need to make sensible energy choices. In this way, we can often restrict the need for costly network upgrades. Alliander has therefore opted to extensively digitise its networks, using state-of-the-art innovations. By installing smart meters, sensors, remote-controllable switches and a telecom network, we can respond quickly and at acceptable costs to the far-reaching changes taking place in the energy system.
4 Excellent network management as the basis
The Dutch energy network is among the most reliable in the world and we aim to keep it that way. Thanks to efficient management and economies of scale, we can keep the existing networks affordable. We also want to continue increasing the level of comfort our customers experience when we are working for them. The trust of our customers is important, both to perform our traditional daily work and to realise our new network ambitions.
To continue guaranteeing a reliable, affordable and accessible energy supply, we seek to recognise and understand innovative trends in the world around us at an early stage. And we also actively contribute to the development and large-scale application of open standards, for both new networks and solutions that help customers make good choices.