Location: Zwevegem, Belgium
Participants: The Municipality of Zwevegem, Intercommunal Organisation Leiedal and the Province of West-Flanders
Transfo Zwevegem, a former electricity power plant, stopped its production since 2001. From then on, the site was abandoned. The Municipality of Zwevegem became owner of the site and since then, three partners (the municipality of Zwevegem, intercommunal organisation Leiedal and the Province of West-Flanders), combined powers to reform the entire site: buildings were restored and new partners were engaged to give the site a new meaningful function.
The process took place according to the Transfo A-B-C-D-E principle: Adventure, Business, Culture, Duurzaamheid (Sustainability), Energy education. The first three were first developed. ‘Energy’ was, and still is, incorporated in the site’s DNA, the partnership is now developing a ‘futureproof sustainability and renewable energy’ dimension to the reformation. The D&E – part of the site is developed by two European projects:
With EMPOWER 2.0, the partners want to install a demonstrative CHP installation. CHP-technologies can play an essential role in the story of energy transition. The erratic way of generating energy via solar panels and wind turbines must be harmonized and balanced. And the usage of a CHP could be the way to do this.
Apart from production and storage of renewables, the project also initiated the development of a smart grid, smart energy usage/users and start up of a smart energy management system. This is done via engaging and enthuse the partners, houseowners, offices, … on site in rational use of energy, but also by activating them to participate in a ‘Transfo–Cooperative’.
Next to that, an educational tool will be developed to valorise the workings of the grid, and the knowledge that has been built up will be used to further develop the site.
At the end of the D & E - project, there will be a (technical) fully operational (DC/AC) microgrid, with renewable energy of wind and sun and storage with different types of batteries. The site has a variety of participants (diving tank, brewery, climbing hall, event location, …). The grid (and its legal context) will function as a living lab.
All of the ‘functional’ energy infrastructure (production, storage, distribution) on site level and the formation of the Transfo-cooperative will be financed through ‘ReSourced’, an Urban Innovative Actions-approved project. Whereas EMPOWER 2.0 will focus on the demo-installations and storytelling of the need of the energy transition towards a broad public by developing a proof of concept on a micro-level.
In the upcoming paragraphs, the story of the site-levelled development will be told, keeping in mind, that, though the development on site level will not be funded by NSR, its lessons learned and activism of energy users can be captured and told as a story within the infrastructure that will be developed within Empower2.0.