An energy community in Brussels, Belgium, has successfully set up local renewable energy production and consumption and is now moving onto a new stage: energy sharing and its impact on grid management.
The project’s goals are two-fold; to identify the impact of large-scale electricity sharing on grid management and to explore the potential incentives and obstacles for the development of similar initiatives.
Belgian retail investor Nextensa worked on the project alongside economic think tank Brugel, electricity and gas DSO Sibelga and energy solutions developer WeSmart to set up the energy community around Tour&Taxis, a former industrial site in Belgium, and at the Maritime Station, which includes the Station, its parking lot, the Park Lane and the Post Office.
The project has seen residents consuming locally generated solar energy since earlier this year in May. On the roofs of Gare Maritime, Tour & Taxis’ energy-neutral flagship, there are 10,000 solar panels generating 3,000MWh of renewable energy annually.
Most of this energy has until now been consumed by the offices, commercial spaces, events and the Food Market located in the Gare Maritime – the surplus energy flowed directly toward the power grid.
This next stage of the project will evaluate energy sharing models, whereby a portion of the surplus energy is shared with residents, rather than being directed to the grid, at ‘an attractive rate’, stated Nextensa.
In a press release announcing the project, Nextensa commented on the European Union’s Clean Energy Package, which sparked new forms of energy sharing across Europe.
“Central to this European energy strategy are the interests of consumers and the decentralisation of electricity production (…) Nextensa aims to demonstrate that non-professionals in the energy market can also play an important role in the energy transition that the European Union is pursuing.
Also commenting on the project was Marion Stabile, manager of the energy community and resident of the Tour & Taxis site as well as an administrative assistant in communications and HR at WeSmart:
“WeSmart, a company that specializes in setting up energy communities, will provide the necessary support and provide participants with a digital platform that will allow them to view their consumption and download their bills every month in a clear and transparent way.”
The pilot project will run until 2024.