Energy gets society to take action. We are moving together towards a sustainable energy supply where everyone can make their own energy choices. Enexis Group is helping it to happen. To help realise a sustainable energy supply, we are putting all our energy into excellent grid management and accelerating the energy transition.
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With our grids, expertise and activities, we aim to provide a solution for energy issues, today and in the future. We study the needs and wishes of our stakeholders so we can create value for the long term. Our new strategic plan helps us to focus our efforts. In the years to come we are concentrating on two strategic pillars: excellent grid management and the acceleration of the energy transition. All our activities, however large or small, are contributing to this.
The needs and wishes of our stakeholders are varied. For this annual report, we entered into a dialogue about 10 issues that they find relevant. How do stakeholders rate our activities?
A large part of the land in the Netherlands lies below sea level. But thanks to constant anticipation, the Netherlands remains the safest delta in the world. The Department of Waterways and Public Works invests in keeping the Netherlands safe, accessible and a pleasant place to live. In order to be prepared for potential disasters, we play an active role in training exercises.
In 2017 Enexis joined us as part of the exercise ‘When the dyke breaks...’, organised by the Central and West Brabant Safety Region. Everyone had their own role: the emergency services, the Department of Waterways and Public Works, the water authorities and the grid operators. Prior to the exercise, the participants cooperated to make an impact analysis and drew up an action plan. For this exercise the Department of Waterways and Public Works reported an expected high water level and participants then responded immediately with appropriate measures. Enexis evaluated the impact on the electricity and gas network and cut off the gas supply to prevent incidents.
To keep our country safe, the Department of Waterways and Public Works and Enexis must cooperate. We have to be able to contact each other, especially in emergencies. In the case of potential disasters such as high water levels in rivers or a major storm, this is already the case. Yet, there are crisis scenarios that we are less experienced in. For example, cybercrime or terrorism. By working together on exercises such as these, we can be better prepared for unexpected scenarios.
On 27 May 2017 Eindhoven Airport was closed temporarily. Our new car park – that was still under construction – had partially collapsed and crushed a transformer shed. As if the carnage wasn’t enough, we were instantly without power. All the lights went off, computers shut down and the baggage reclaim carrousel, which was full of suitcases at the time, was no longer working. We had a real problem on our hands as everything was down for about 20 minutes.
For an airport, continuous power supply is crucial. Our processes have been optimised and mostly digitalised to prevent waste. And without power, operational excellence is simply not achievable. So, this is where we reply on the Enexis network. We can generate a limited proportion of our energy demand with solar panels on the hotel, terminal and baggage hall. This is important to us, because Eindhoven Airport wants to become a leading European airport in terms of sustainability. This is why we make our buildings energy efficient and use 100% green energy.
We’re not alone in our ambition to become more sustainable. Many large corporations aim to increase their sustainability and will use the infrastructure differently in the future. My advice to Enexis: capitalise on this trend and ask large partners, such as airports and other major energy consumers to cooperate in shaping energy supply and demand. Together, we can learn from the energy transition, and even accelerate it, while safeguarding reliability.
Loppersum is located in the centre of the earthquake zone in Groningen. The numerous homes in the village that have been damaged have been repaired and in 2017 a project was started to carry out further reinforcement. Houses are extensively inspected and then preventive reinforcements were made to help them withstand potential future earthquakes. This was also an excellent opportunity to increase sustainability at the same time. Many villagers have used the money from the first damage compensation to invest in solar panels and insulation. As a result, we suddenly became one of the most sustainable villages in the Netherlands. Enexis noticed the difference in terms of energy supply and demand. In 2017, our cooperative also opened a sunroof with almost 200 solar panels, and we are looking into wind energy.
Our goal is the trias energetica*: becoming CO2 neutral by generating power ourselves, saving energy and making the winter power provision greener. We work closely with the Loppersum Neighbourhood Team. They are focusing primarily on saving energy in combination with reinforcing the homes. Loppersum is not looking at creating an independent grid – yet. Our members rate reliability and enhanced sustainability over self-sufficiency.
We are supported in our ambitions by several parties, including Enexis. They help us draw up plans. However, implementing sustainable initiatives is yet not standard and is sometimes messy. This is why we need to continue to work together to find a solution.
* The Trias Energetica is a model developed by the Delft University of Technology for pursuing energy sustainability in the building sector.
Modern architecture, durable materials and a healthy living environment. That’s what we want to represent with our ‘primeval home’. I was first on this site, owned by Brabants Landschap in Leende and in the middle of a Natura 2000 area, in 2014. There was a run-down farm and I had the chance to start building my own house here. For an architect like myself, this was a unique opportunity.
Over the coming years, houses will have to be insulated on large scale. The usual choice is for an air-tight insulation system made from plastics. I want to show that natural materials such as recycled paper and sheep’s wool can also be used as a good insulator. Moreover, I believe it’s important to get sustainable construction away from its hippie image. Modern architecture and a healthy living environment go hand in hand.
This house is all-electric. The use of gas is passé. This is why we have electric heating in the walls, a small heat pump and we cook using electricity. Also, the shed we’re going to build will have a sunroof. Unfortunately, our power connection turned out to be too small. Pity we didn’t know this earlier, as we had to incur additional costs. Enexis sent a contractor to replace the connection. In the future, clearer information about all-electric living or even a checklist, will enable Enexis to help customers prepare better.
This is the site where Philips grew up. The innovative energy that was present then still very much prevails here today. At Strijp-S 1,000 companies bring together technological knowledge and design. From established companies, to start-ups and scale-ups. They tackle important societal issues like security, health and energy transition. That’s why this is the ideal place to experiment.
Enexis manages the European smart grid project Interflex here at Strijp-S. Through various pilots, they are developing the next generation of smart networks. For instance, they are carrying out research into how behaviour and technology can contribute to future energy provision. With a smart ‘charging grid’ for electric cars parties are experimenting with smart charging, storage and IT systems.
Users of our site are unfamiliar with this technology, but we are a living lab, and businesses want to get involved. It’s great to see our users actively participating in finding solutions. The international nature of Interflex is also something worth highlighting. Everything is happening in Eindhoven and in five other European countries. Because mobility doesn’t just stop at the border. We are learning from the pilots in other countries and vice versa. I am convinced that if it works here, it will work everywhere. Enexis can upscale their successful solutions to half of the Netherlands. They believe in getting the job done, just like us.
Our municipality has ambitious plans for enhancing sustainability in gas and electricity. Maybe even a little too ambitious. We had to scale back our objectives for 2020 to 2024. Various projects have been initiated, but the start-up phase is taking longer than we had hoped. Also, it’s sometimes hard to get public support.
In 2017, we worked together with Enexis to define our power supply demand in the built-up area and outlined the consequences this would have on buildings and infrastructure. This helped: from now on we only want to focus on the most effective measures or projects. Incidentally, I think it’s a massive task for a grid operator to advise every municipality. They don’t have the ‘mental map’ of the different municipalities. For instance, the municipality of Sittard-Geleen believes in heat grids, as it’s ‘proven technology’. But also because a heat grid, like the one in our municipality, contributes substantially to reaching our CO2 objectives. This is why we developed The Green Grid, a sustainable heat grid that can sustain as many as 12,000 household equivalents in our municipality alone. Together with large-scale solar power projects, this will enable us to discontinue the use of gas.
We expect Enexis to use resources traditionally allocated to the gas infrastructure in Sittard-Geleen, to now realise sustainable alternatives. And ensure that they are not just good intentions. Here too, it’s important to make clear agreements. But what you can show in practice is even more important.
Those enjoying green electricity don’t usually have windmills in their back garden. That might not sound like a problem, but balancing benefits and burdens is an important aspect of energy transition. The Netherlands has a huge task ahead. To reach the climate objectives in time, the speed of construction needs to increase levels usually only seen in China. The acceptance and recognition of the need for change goes a lot faster once you engage people in the problem, and ensure an equal distribution of tasks with respect to the quality of the living environment.
Since energy transition has such a massive spatial impact, grid operators as well as the Department of Waterways and Public Works and water authorities will need to broader their horizons. Because to increase sustainability more cheaper and quicker it would be smart to locate large energy consumers and suppliers closer to each other. Enexis knows exactly what type of capacity is needed where, and can help municipalities and instigators of projects to consider the location of generation sources of sustainable energy in relation to the infrastructure. With this kind of information Enexis can take a leading position in the investment plans in the region. This also ensures energy costs remain affordable for everyone.
One final heartfelt plea: can the assets be made just a tiny bit more appealing to the eye? If you pay attention to aligning the design of the transformer stations, for example, with the actual landscape, you’ll not only enhance the visual aspect, you’ll also speed up public acceptance. The social value of such an area-specific approach is invaluable.
At ING Bank, we follow the financial situation at Enexis closely. A solid financial position is not only important to banks like us, it’s equally important to investors in bonds in the grid operator. It opens doors to the capital market. And this is precisely what makes it possible for Enexis to invest in future energy provisions.
Financers are interested is whether the return outweighs the risk. Enexis’ A+ rating is a good reflection of the beneficial risk profile with a corresponding appealing interest rate. To have a more complete overview, we enhance the annual and bi-annual results of Enexis with our own benchmark objectives. We look ahead and it would, therefore, be valuable to have insight into the financial expectations of Enexis.
Looking ahead also means that we follow developments in the marketplace. The transition from a system that is fuelled by raw materials to one that is fuelled by sustainable energy is the big challenge in the industry. The strategic choice to play a role in speeding up the energy transition, adds value to our relationship with Enexis. It’s in line with ING core values.
Energy companies as well as grid operators play an important role in energy transition. The challenge is that we don’t exactly know what the future will look like. We expect a decline in gas consumption and an upward trend towards all-electric. But how? There’s much to discover throughout the chain. From grid operator, to technician and boiler producer. The Progress Energy Transition law clearly defines the margins within which the grid operators can experiment. This is good, because accelerating the process is only possible when tasks are clearly defined.
Transitioning to an all-electric system is a massive challenge for grid operators in terms of planning and costs. We support the plea from Enexis to deploy hybrid heat pumps. This will enable us to realise desired scenario gradually and cost-effectively. Moreover, technology will have the opportunity to develop over the next few years. We support the free market, because competition in the heat transition sector will lead to the most cost-efficient outcome.
Another important topic for grid operators is flexibility in the consumer market. Due to the increase in the supply of sustainable energy sources, supply and demand for electricity will fluctuate. Grid enhancement will be essential, but we also need to look at how to manage and utilise our capacity efficiently. For instance, by using smart charging. At the Round Table for Energy Provision we are cooperating with various parties, to draw up new rules. This is necessary for a future sustainable and a stable energy system.
I got a job here in 2017 via Weener XL. I’d been unemployed for some time and had lost the motivation to look for a job. But when they asked me to apply, I did. At LAB.073 I’m can gain new work experience, with the guidance of a facility manager and a job coach.
I now provide lunch for the people working at LAB.073, one of the Enexis Group locations. I put all the sandwiches, fillings and drinks ready on the counter, and clean up afterwards. The thing I enjoy most about my job is that every day is different. And I meet a lot of people. It’s so important to me that I’ve got a job again.
I enjoy being busy and working for my money. The nice thing is that here they take time to motivate me when I am feeling down. If I’m sick, I get a phone call to ask how I’m feeling, and when I will be able to return to work. I think that’s really nice. LAB employees also ask: ‘Where’s Kimberley?’. I’m a real part of this team.
During the value creation process, we carefully consider the options to ensure that our activities produce the highest possible value for our stakeholders. The value creation model demonstrates how our strategic choices create added value for our stakeholders and shows the concrete results it has for them.
We have ambitious plans, but we are taking realistic steps to keep grid management safe and reliable and to accelerate the energy transition. In 2018 we expect our internal transition programme to bear fruit externally. We are improving our service to customers, ensuring efficient management in the chain and working hard on technological innovation. We are taking action to increase our contribution for stakeholders and society as a whole.
The energy transition comes with major challenges that we - together with our employees and collaborative partners - look forward to with confidence.
Limiting the whole range of risks to persons and society resulting from working on and using the energy grid and the data system.
The degree of reliability of the energy supply, expressed as the average time and frequency of interruptions to energy transmission for end users.
Adapting the energy system to reduce environmental impact thus saving energy, increasing the proportion of renewable energy and decreasing the use of fossil-based energy.
The degree to which customers are happy with our service provision of core processes.
The whole range of efforts for renewal, including the technological, social and financial area, in our grids, our processes, our role in society and our efforts to provide open data.
The degree to which the organisation and its employees are capable of adapting to organisational and energy transition issues in a timely manner.
The access to an energy supply in the form of a connection to the energy grid, the facilitation of the energy market and the promotion of a fair playing field for market players.
Overall performance, with a balance between value to the shareholder, development of customer rates and added value to society.
Meeting the obligations that Enexis is required to meet (such as laws and regulations) and with which Enexis agrees to comply.
The direct and indirect carbon footprint of the organisation on society and the environment and the efforts made to improve.