The island of Ameland has high ambitions when it comes to its energy supply. The island wants to be energy-neutral in 2020. Is it possible to do it this quickly?
Recently, the largest solar park of the Netherlands was opened on Ameland. This 10-hectare solar park, with an output of 6 MW, provides in the annual electricity demand of the Amelander households. It looks as if this means that they are well on their way, but the heat demand of the households is 5 times higher than the electricity demand. This would require an extra 5 similar solar parks, which would only be enough for just the households on the island. In addition, most sustainable electricity is generated in the summer period, while the need for energy for heating is highest in the winter months. For that reason, Ameland is now researching the possibility of producing green gas in the sewage water purification plant through high-pressure fermentation. Biomass is probably easier to store than the electricity generated by solar parks.
The parties to the Duurzaam Ameland project (the Municipality of Ameland, Philips, NAM, Eneco and gasTerra) are currently researching opportunities for the expansion of solar parks, hybrid heat pumps, hydrogen production, electricity storage, electric transportation, LED street lighting and a smart grid on the island. The goal is to ensure that in 2020, Ameland will be years ahead (approx. 15-20 years) in the energy transition process, and that they gain the required knowledge of and experience with the process. Ameland should be seen as a testing ground for energy transition, but the collaboration with the people of Ameland is paramount.
If the Dutch government gives Ameland the status of testing ground, experience with new rules on energy can be gained, enabling the transition to a reliable, affordable and CO2-neutral energy supply.