Why You Should Launch Your Smart Grid Solution in the Netherlands

The Dutch clean energy sector is driving future-proof innovation for more sustainable societies

A person operating a smart grid solution

The transition towards clean energy in the Netherlands is picking up serious speed. In particular, electrification of fossil-powered applications is growing fast. But combined with the shift towards volatile renewable energy resources, the surging demand for electricity has created capacity bottlenecks. As a result, the Dutch are increasing efforts towards developing the systems that balance supply and demand across the grid with smart grid solutions. 

This creates great opportunities for local and international companies to team up with the renowned testing, validation and certification institutes in the Netherlands to develop their smart grid solutions. The Dutch energy network is interlinked with the in German, Danish, Norwegian and Belgian energy systems, and because of the outstanding standards applied in the Netherlands, solutions developed here are exceptionally well positioned for scaling up across Europe and beyond.

An ecosystem that accelerates smart grid innovation and market entry

The energy ecosystem in the Netherlands is highly effective at bringing forth a variety of innovations and startups. Key to that success is the Dutch collaborative and pragmatic approach. When faced with challenges, the Dutch bring together all relevant parties, across various industries, and involve companies, government organizations and research and education institutes. This typically Dutch triple helix approach is making a difference for smart grid solutions.

The energy ecosystem in the Netherlands is home to a number of internationally renowned energy centers, with facilities for testing and demonstration, validation and certification available for innovative companies. An outstanding example is KEMA labs, the number one testing, certification and inspection institute in the world for high and medium voltage components. It has unique high-power test facilities for (very) large systems (MW scale and voltages ≥ 10kV)>1MW / 10kV+). 

The Energy & Health Campus (EHC) complements KEMA labs with a large variety of energy-related labs, including for solar energy, hydrogen production and storage, fuel cell and batteries and smart grid applications. The availability of vast technology and expertise on these sustainable energy innovations, helps accelerate time to market for new innovations. 

a stock image with a dark city covered by neon lines indicating smart grid

R&D and innovation centers are breeding ground for new smart grid solutions

Among other examples is the AI for Energy Grids Lab, which is affiliated with the Innovation Centre for Artificial Intelligence. This lab combines the expertise of data scientists from energy network operator Alliander, electrical engineers, and the latest digitalization programs for grid data, with academic AI expertise. ElaadNL, is a highly valuable innovation center, with top-class facilities dedicated to advancing smart and sustainable charging solutions. It tests the charging of all kinds of electric vehicles, from passenger cars to electric buses and trucks, and the associated charging infrastructure. At the GreenVillage, a real-life town has been recreated to research the effects of introducing a variety of renewable energy resources into a flexible, secure local power grid. The field lab is open for companies with relevant technology to tap into the infrastructure and test their application in a real-life setting.

The three Universities of Technology (TU Delft, University of Twente, Eindhoven University of Technology) in the Netherlands and the institute for applied research TNO are extensively involved in fundamental and applied research in the energy transition domain, both domestically and internationally. They are typically among the founding partners in the available energy innovation facilities and a breeding ground for innovative spin-out startups. In addition, they take a pivotal role in collaborations between large industries and academia and are renowned for their hands-on mentality in fundamental technological challenges.

A thriving startup community

Pioneering Dutch and international smart grid startups are also key players in the Dutch energy ecosystem, such as Ammp, which provides digital solutions for distributed energy. Their SaaS platform offers remote monitoring and management for energy users, energy service companies, and vendors of renewable energy systems. Dexter Energy Services offers services to energy retailers and large-scale energy consumers to reduce power imbalance and Withthegrid connects and empowers infrastructure assets, grid operators, energy producers and users through monitoring and flexibility solutions. These local startups are accompanied by a number of international peers, such as Singaporean Univers, which helps companies optimize energy systems and reduce carbon emissions with accurate, reliable, and actionable decarbonization data and have an office in Amsterdam. Finnish Cactos offers the world’s first cloud-controlled, distributed battery energy storage system based on recycled EV batteries.

smart grid netherlands

The strong innovation climate in the Netherlands is bolstered by the country’s highly qualified workforce. The Netherlands scores outstandingly both in the availability and performance of talent. The Dutch education system consists of 11 universities with global top-250 positions. Twente University, for example ranks #1 on the THE impact ranking for Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure, and TU Delft ranks #16 globally on engineering and #45 in computer science (#1 in the Netherlands). In the Netherlands over 150,000 people are employed in the energy sector and over 100,000 people in the environmental sector. The Dutch tech and digital sectors employ over 150,000 people, in more than 250 globally operating companies. In addition, training institutes offer over 300 programs for digital skills development. 

Accelerate your smart grid business in the Netherlands 

The energy transition provides business opportunities across the Dutch energy system, from production to storage and distribution. The high ambitions and available investments in the country, combined with its compact size, excellent business ecosystem and international networks, makes it an ideal launchpad for innovative energy solutions. If it’s made in the Netherlands, it will be top-class everywhere. 

Interested in learning more about the opportunities for expanding your smart energy business in the Netherlands? The Invest in Holland energy team will be a Enlit Europe in Paris from November 28-30. Meet us at Enlit or contact us at [email protected].

27 November 2023

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