Tour guide for the energy transition

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In order to achieve the objectives of the Paris Climate Agreement, the Dutch national and local governments are working together to achieve the target of a 49% reduction in CO2 by 2030. Witteveen+Bos is doing its bit for the national climate agreement as a regional partner. And we practise what we preach: our largest office in Deventer has recently become more sustainable and gas-free.

Witteveen+Bos is working hard alongside governments, developers and network operators to ensure that the Netherlands - and beyond - becomes energy-neutral. Our specialists want to do their bit here, too. But how? The possibilities are endless - as are the number of decisions that need to be made. The parties involved often have to take on a different role than the one they usually have. Witteveen+Bos can help. We are more than happy to share all the experience we have gained from working on energy projects; as such, we will become a kind of tour guide for the energy transition.

Where to?

How are we guiding our clients through the energy transition? Jimme Zoete, head of the Energy and Space group at Witteveen+Bos, gave us an example: 'For the Enexis Group, over the last few months we have been working on a customer journey for Regional Energy Strategies. This is a step-by-step plan for the network operator, in which Witteveen+Bos outlines its experience with energy projects in a clear and understandable way. It might not be a Lonely Planet or other travel guide, but it does help the network operator's area teams address questions from various authorities. NOVI, RES, BENG, VET, BBL: these are all important terms in this journey towards a more sustainable world. At an airport you look for clear signposts to find out where you need to be. So, that is what we are trying to provide: directions during this period of transition. You come across lots of different terms everywhere you go; what do they all mean? What does that mean for the various parties, including the network operator and the government? When we give advice, we specifically identify which knowledge and data those involved will need at any given moment and which steps they should take.’

New role in the energy transition

It is difficult to plan the energy transition from start to finish, which is why it is necessary to adopt a flexible approach. We guide and support professionals up to the moment in the process when they can offer added value. First we determine the destination together: We want to have achieved a 49% reduction in CO2 emissions by the year 2030, but a 100% reduction is the ultimate goal. We then coordinate wishes and restrictions. What do you want to do on the journey? Which factors should we take into account? Network operators know a lot about the electricity grid and technical connections, but they will not reach their final destination armed with just a duty to connect buildings to the network. The network operator therefore needs to assume a new, different role in the energy transition. Within five years, network operators will be an indispensable strategic player for storage and flexibility in the energy market.

Good tour guides

Jimme Zoete: ‘Have you ever been to a travel agent? They have plenty of attractive destinations, but choosing one is not that easy. You only choose one where you know where the weather will be nice. The weather during the ‘energy transition journey’ will be difficult to predict. I hope there’ll be plenty of wind and a lot of sun. We employ a number of good tour guides with experience in energy projects and now it all just has to come together. Do you need a guide or do you want to book a trip yourself? We would be happy to talk about your ideas over a cup of Fairtrade coffee at our gas-free office.’