Greenbuddies tips – September 2021

Sources: Maurizio La Cava, Pixabay, Shutterstock

From Green to Green Energy

The history of the 54-hole golf course began in the second half of the 20th century. As a result of a declining interest in golf, the management decided to use part of its land to generate green energy.

The history of the largest completed photovoltaic park in the Netherlands with an installed capacity of more than 130 MWp began in May 2021. The solar park is located south of the small village of Biddinghuizen. To prepare the project, the rugged terrain of the golf course had to be levelled. This was a big challenge because the area was once used by the army as a training range. First, a specialist munitions search company had to survey the entire area to ensure that the subsequent works could be carried out in a  safe fashion.

A number of obstacles had to be overcome during the construction of the project. One of them was the water table. The whole area was once flooded,  the solar park is located 3 m below sea level. In the Netherlands there is a lot of experience in the field of  pumping and several powerful diaphragm pumps keep the groundwater level below the trench of all excavations.

GreenBuddies, together with its long-standing German partner Evia Verkehrstechnik GmbH, is involved in the project with the complete construction of the mechanical part of the solar plant. The Zimmemrann construction system, with which we have extensive experience, is used here. The ramming is carried out with up to three Gayk ramming machines which can hammer 300-350 piles per day. The plant is designed east-west and divided into thirteen blocks which are completed one by one in coordination with the electricians.

A number of obstacles had to be overcome during the construction of the project. One of them was the water table. The whole area was once flooded,  the solar park is located 3m below sea level. In the Netherlands there is a lot of experience in the field of  pumping and several powerful diaphragm pumps keep the groundwater level below the trench of all excavations.

Quality control of the structure before the panels are laid includes checking the tightening torques of all bolted connections. For this activity we use calibrated Gedore BDS160 checking wrenches with a range of 30 to 160 Nm. We also check the inclination of the structure with a Bosch GIM 60 digital spirit level.

 Speaking of numbers: more than 300,000 Jolywood 470 Wp panels will be installed in an east-west arrangement, more than 460 Sungrow inverters. The annual production will cover the consumption of 40,000 households and contribute to a CO2 reduction of 45,000 tonnes per year.

What is your opinion on turning an exclusive golf club into a public energy utility?

Is the Mobility Future indeed Electric?

Some might think that today’s article begins with a rather provocative question. Why would anyone indeed challenge such an evident fact? Actually, we at Greenbuddies Charging do not think that much argument still exists about the electric future of mobility in one way (battery powered) or another (fuel cell) or both combined. The question is rather “HOW” and “HOW FAST” respectively. Let’s touch at least briefly upon why we believe that.  

All around us there is ample evidence that the concept of mobility is changing for the better. Although challenges to the step-by-step electrification of the current vehicle fleet persist, opportunities promising tangible benefits also can be spotted ahead. This can be seen  particularly in cities, where today we fight with issues such as emissions, congestion, and safety.

Therefore, if this status quo should continue, mobility-related problems would escalate as population and public wealth growth would lead to increased car ownership and vehicle range-distance traveled. In reaction, the automotive industry is coming up with a broad number of innovations designed for urban roads, such as mobility-as-a-service, smart traffic management and parking systems, freight-sharing solutions, and new transportation concepts on two or three wheels.

The current potential to transform the way in which we travel essentially results from changes in three main areas: regulation, consumer behavior, and technology.

Governments and municipalities have introduced regulations and incentives to trigger the shift to sustainable mobility. Regulatory authorities around the world are defining more rigorous emissions targets. The EU introduced its “Fit for 55” program, which aims to align climate, energy, land use, transport, and taxation policies to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 % by 2030, and the US administration introduced a 50 percent electric vehicle (EV) target for 2030. Whereas the expert community often puts forward technical arguments as to why these ambitions should be unrealistic (arguing tight timing much more so than the substance and direction of the change as such), yet many governments are also offering EV and EV infrastructure subsidies.

In addition, a number of city administrations are working to reduce private vehicle use and congestion by offering greater support for alternative mobility modes like bicycles, e-scooters, and so forth. Paris, for instance, announced it will invest more than € 255 million to modernize its bicycle network and transform 50 kilometers of car lanes into bicycle paths. Bike trails are being built in Prague, big cities in Austria, Germany and other European countries. Many urban areas are also implementing access regulations for cars, particularly with diesel engines. In fact, over 150 cities in Europe have already created access regulations for low emissions and pollution emergencies.

Consumer behavior.
Consumer behavior and awareness are changing as an increasing number of people are becoming inclined to accepting alternative ways of transportation. Inner city trips with shared bicycles and e-scooters have by some studies risen 60 percent year-over-year and some projections suggest average bicycle use (shared and private) is likely to increase more than 10 percent in the post-pandemic reality compared with pre-pandemic levels. In addition, consumers are becoming more open-minded towards shared mobility options. Over 20 percent of Germans surveyed say they already use ride-pooling services (6 percent do so at least once per week), which can help reduce vehicle distance traveled and corresponding amount of emissions.

The key players and the whole industry are cutting down the automotive technology innovation cycles as they develop new concepts of electric, connected, autonomous, and shared mobility at ever faster rates. In the last decade alone the industry has enticed more than € 340 billion in investments – with about € 85 billion of that coming since the beginning of 2020. All this money typically lands in companies and R&D start-ups focusing on electrifying mobility, connecting vehicles, and autonomous driving technology. Such technology innovations will help shave EV purchase costs and make electric shared mobility a real viable alternative to owning a car.

Like it or not, electrification will undoubtedly play a major role in shaping the future of the mobility industry and presents interesting opportunities in all vehicle segments, although the speed and degree of change will possibly differ. To ensure the fast, widespread adoption of electric mobility, launching new EVs in the market is an important first pre-requisite. On top of that, the entire mobility ecosystem must work smoothly to make the transformation successful. This embraces EV manufacturers and suppliers, financers, dealers, energy providers, and charging point operators – basically all that have to cater for the needs of future emobility community.

McKinsey – Shared mobility: Where it stands, where it’s headed, August 2021. Mobility’s future: An investment reality check, April 2021
Transport & Environment – EU climate plan will make emissions-free cars accessible for all, July 2021

Greenbuddies Energy BV Set to Develop

As of January 2021 Greenbuddies has dived into the Dutch solar development market alongside Jos Schlangen as director of Greenbuddies Energy B.V. The brand new Greenbuddies entity has been launched from Eindhoven, the Netherlands with the purpose of developing large scale solar projects across all three countries in the Benelux. Greenbuddies Energy has recently signed a long-term cooperation agreement with German based SENS (STEAG Solar Energy Solutions GmbH, formerly known as Gildemeister), which is expanding to the Dutch market as a major EPC contractor. At the same time, Greenbuddies based in Prague (operating throughout the EU) will continue to offer installation and contracting services to a wide range of commercial and utility scale market players. 

Having Jos Schlangen at the helm of the Dutch entity brings a key advantage of over 30 years of experience in the solar energy sector across the world. Jos began his trajectory into the world of solar energy at Shell Solar, subsequently working for and with Siemens, TP Solar, and others. Jos’ career has taken him to developing projects across the globe (Ghana, Philippines, all across Europe and more), now he is pleased to be bringing his experience back to his homeland to push the market into a more innovative yet maturing sphere alongside Greenbuddies.

“It’s exciting to pass on the decades of experience to the young entrepreneurial team focusing on innovation in the energy transition”, Jos added.

Through the course of 2021 Greenbuddies Energy has built up a motivated team to tackle the steep task of developing large scale projects in densely competitive markets. The team is growing at a fast pace. Jos Schlangen leads a team made up of Thijs Kruidering (as project developer), Charlotte Eekhof (as legal support) together with Jim Voorn, Hidde van der Weij and Sara Kruidering (all three working and/or having worked on specific R&D projects to stimulate innovation). Greenbuddies Energy is expecting to continue expanding its team through the course of the year. The new entity has been active in setting up a range of strategic partnerships including Siemens, Greenpoint Fuels, Olyx, AquaBattery, TD&S consultancy and more. These will serve to bring about novel innovative ideas in the manner in which solar parks are being developed at present and in the future. Looking forward, with the increasing grid congestion as well as the disappearing subsidy arrangements, solar park development has no choice but to bring about key innovations in offtake, storage, and scope to retain its rapid growth in the total energy market share. 

The team mentioned above, alongside SENS, has set itself the ambitious target of reaching 250 MW of developed projects in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxemburg by 2025. Despite being ambitious, these targets are seen by Greenbuddies and SENS as realistic due to the increasing demand for solar energy particularly in the Dutch market. This demand is projected to spill over into the rest of the Benelux region in the near future – something that Greenbuddies is keen to play a key role in. Greenbuddies Energy developments are currently concretely moving forward on a range of large-scale locations across the Netherlands, stay alert to hear more on all the upcoming projects in the coming months and years!