Location: Zaanstad, Netherlands
Local Co-operative WeSpark is part of the Empower 2.0 project. WeSpark has its seat in Zaanstad, just a couple of kilometers west of and part of the metropolitan area of Dutch capital Amsterdam.
Wesparks pilot project within Empower involves so called “EARN-E”, an easy-to-use plug-and-play energy monitoring device, that can be connected in a households’ smart meter (‘P1 port’). Every smart meter has the possibility of sharing the energy metering data with the energy supplier and/or consumer. When the consumer is connecting its EARN-E with its own smart meter, one can obtain the real-time metering data on its own smart phone or web application. In this way it enables consumers to monitor their own energy usage (and in case there are solar panels real time production). In this way Wespark aims to grow awareness amongst consumers on their energy use and offer insights to save energy.
When local citizens become a member – and thus owner - of the co-operative WeSpark, they get a discount of 50% for buying this EARN-E. For WeSpark it’s a distinctive device in attracting new energy customers and members for the co-operative. We don’t earn any money with it. Our earning model is the margin on top of delivering 100% green energy to our customers. However, WeSpark also has a idealistic goal in growing awareness and helping its members and customers to reduce their energy usage and lower their carbon footprint.
The EARN-E isn’t just a device. The EARN-E can help WeSpark in creating an energy community. The collected metering data per household (consumer) can be shared among the members of the Wespark community. In that way, they can compare and inspire each other in reducing energy or producing energy with solar panels.
That is exactly the intention of our pilot project in rental appartments owned by social housing corporation Parteon. Parteon operates locally in the ZAanstad area and has approximately 16.000 rental houses in its portfolio. They have a huge ambition in taking all their assets off conventional gas heating and replacing it with more sustainable heating solutions in the next twenty years. Wespark and EARN-E can help tentants with their first steps in the journey of becoming an active energy citizen or even prosumer and at the same time help Parteon towards their (energy) goals.
The last few months WeSpark has been discussing the idea of using the EARN-E for helping Parteon in reaching their goals. Parteon has an ambitious plan of bringing all their houses off the gas within 20 years from now (before 2040). That means roughly 800 houses a year. They have various types of dwellings in their portfolio, ranging from houses of more than 80 years old to newly built houses, with different energy labels. Most of their houses will eventually become ‘all-electric’, meaning they will replace the gas-heated boilers with an electrical heat pump and solar panels. Some of their houses are already brought to an all-electric level.
Within the EMPOWER pilot WeSpark and Parteon plan to install 200 EARN-E’s with these few all-electric houses in order to ‘use’ them as ambassadors for the other non-all-electric households in inspiring them to go for solar panels, energy saving measures and heat pumps. The idea is then to further roll out the EARN-E to all households within the ‘Parteon-area’.