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Asked by Wim de Ridder,

Professor of Futures Studies, University of Twente:

What is Nuon doing about developing decentralized energy generation?

Consumers are beginning to generate their own electricity by using thermo-electric generators, solar boilers, solar panels or wind turbines. Excess electricity is returned to the grid, converting the client from being only a user, to being a supplier and a user.

Benefits

Generating your own electricity is becoming popular. So much so, that electricity has become an important source of income for many greenhouse farmers. Making decentralised electricity generation more independent and, because the electricity is generated from sustainable sources, it is environmentally friendly.

Examples of decentralised generation are the fermentation of biomass, the use of solar panels, thermo-electric generators and the use of wind turbines.

Research
Nuon regards the opportunities and applications of decentralised generation. For example, by creating support for projects, investing extra capital into sustainable energy and offering advice to consumers who are considering generating their own electricity.

Smart grids
To ensure that decentralised generation of electricity is profitable and effective, the infrastructure must be ready for it. Local exchange of electricity to maintain a balance of supply and demand, can only take place in the so-called intelligent electricity networks, or smart grids. In short, these networks are based on technology that is able to measure the flow of electricity and the burden on the network. This ensures that demand can be met when required and excess electricity can be returned to the grid without causing an imbalance.

Nuon is contributing towards the development of smart grids with other energy companies through the project Grid4EU. This is one of the largest international smart grid research and development projects in Europe. Six European energy companies are working together on knowledge development and innovation.

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