We face major tasks within the energy transition. The energy transition is – in its essence – the transition from an energy system based on fossil energy sources to an energy system based on renewable and carbon-neutral energy sources.

The region around Arnhem and Nijmegen wants to profile itself more emphatically as a European hotspot in the energy transition. Arnhem and energy are inseparable from a historical perspective. TenneT, Alliander, KEMA and DEKRA, all these powerhouse companies started in Arnhem and are still here. They are major players with enormous expertise in energy for both businesses and private households. This region has the opportunity to accelerate the development, demonstration, and application of energy innovations. This is not least because of the innovative entrepreneurs and educational institutions that are already working on this. The collaboration of these companies and educational and knowledge institutions, aimed at realising the energy transition, is badly needed.

Currently, the demand for electricity is growing explosively due to a significant tilt towards sustainability, as well as the growing economy, the digitisation of society and the housing challenge. Developments are taking place at a faster rate than grid operators can reinforce the grids and, as a result, the grid is at capacity in more and more places. All developments – for decades to come – will have an impact on the energy system: electric transport, rooftop solar panels, wind energy, making industry more sustainable, housing challenges and the heat transition in neighbourhoods. The electricity grid being at capacity has implications on business and housing challenges in the Gelderland region, among others.

The Economic Board supports the development and application of innovative enabling technologies. These are needed to achieve climate goals and accelerate the energy transition. An important first step in this has already been taken with the development and realisation of Connectr, which drives energy innovation in the region and beyond.
The next step is to strengthen the regional energy ecosystem. That step is being taken by boosting the Smart Energy Hubs (SEHs) in the region and lobbying for the energy ecosystem in The Hague and Europe. This will be a process in which we as Economic Board will be involved in the coming years.

Connectr – Energy innovation

The energy transition needs a jump in scale, which calls for the accelerated adoption and scaling up of innovations. Connectr provides that, with the help of an Innovation Programme (‘Innovatieprogramma’ in Dutch), Innovation Lab, Shared Facilities and Core Organisation (‘Kernorganisatie’). Innovations are tested, demonstrated, and put into practice directly from Connectr, to grow from there. By making an impact on both the energy transition and the (regional) economy, and by connecting human capital to technology, they are creating durable solutions.

By applying focus, the contribution to the global energy transition becomes more powerful. Connectr is therefore focusing on three enabling technologies that are already undergoing powerful development in the region, and are adding value on a global level:

  1. Electrical power engineering
    Ensuring that the electricity grid can fulfil its key role (integration of renewable sources and new users, sector coupling) in sustainability now and in the future;
  2. Electrochemical energy storage
    Ensuring grid balancing and security of supply of renewable energy and sustainable energy consumption in transport and logistics;
  3. Sustainable propulsion systems
    Using renewable fuels to accelerate innovations leading to greenhouse gas emission reductions for both mobile and stationary applications;

By focusing on the development and incorporation of integrated decentralised energy systems in the region, we are responding to challenges of energy transition and the consequences of increased electrification and decentralised generation. Smart Energy Hubs – decentralised energy systems – aid in unlocking regional energy production, connecting dispersed industry and eliminating imbalance from the network. We see such decentralised energy systems as an integral part of the energy infrastructure of the future.

Living lab for Smart Energy Hubs 

Click here for more information about living lab for smart energy hubs.


New businessmodellen

New business models are needed to trigger supply and demand in the chains and scale up production. We challenge entrepreneurs from start-ups and scale-ups to come up with new business propositions.

We initiate activities and support projects that::

  • Promote the interaction between knowledge institutions and business, thereby improving the connection between education (at the vocational, bachelor’s and master’s level) and the labour market (in the energy domain). In this way, projects also contribute to the national Human Capital Agenda of Energy Innovation NL;
  • Attract, accelerate, and give visibility to applied research, innovation consortia, and pilot and demonstration projects. In doing so, the Innovation Programme increases the impact of these projects on the economy, energy transition and sustainability of the region;
  • Strengthen the regional energy cluster by encouraging opportunities for new business activity (start-ups and scale-ups) and cashing in on opportunities for international growth;