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LIFE: A Holistic View on Energy Innovation

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Developing a community-based energy management platform to address grid issues at the district level.

In order to reach climate neutrality by 2050, many parties are researching ways to lower energy consumption, increase production, and exchange their generated power locally. The share of local solar and wind energy is growing rapidly. But the grid cannot always keep up with the rising demand to its capacity – there’s only limited capacity. A potential solution is informed planning of energy supply and demand, to spread out the use of the grid. To achieve this, we are building a smart energy exchange platform in Amsterdam’s ArenApoort neighborhood. This invention will support the energy transition within the constraints of the current power grid while engaging the community. This is a STELLAR project.


2021 – 2024




DSO Liander has projected that 17 of 25 substations in Amsterdam will reach peak congestion by 2030 – hence the urgency to find alternatives to upgrade infrastructure. In other areas, limited grid capacity has stalled new solar/wind projects, so solutions are needed to better integrate renewables into the built environment. Therefore, smart energy solutions that unlock the full potential of flexibility from buildings and assets such as batteries, e-charging stations, and heat pumps, or from multiple players, are critical to the advancement of our energy system. In this specific district, Amsterdam’s Bijlmer neighborhood, grid congestion issues are made more complex because of the character of the buildings in the neighborhood: the Amsterdam ArenApoort combines residences, entertainment, commerce, and office spaces in one area. With up to 250.000 visitors a day, the local grid connection has been experiencing high peaks.



This is a STELLAR project. The LIFE project will result in a district-level energy management platform to solve grid problems that takes into account local stakeholders’ interests. The innovation and testing will take place in an iconic area with existing grid issues (ArenApoort, including Venserpolder and the Urban Interactive District) as part of the wider sustainable urban development effort. The project will realize a replicable, innovative, integrated, and future-proof energy system for similar mixed-use urban districts in the Netherlands and abroad. 

Spectral plays a big part in the technical development of this project, focusing on three work packages: front-end development (dashboards, databases), asset monitoring (currently this only includes the JCA battery), and finally, a multi-market model that combines different energy markets. Preventing congestion and congestion management are the overarching themes of the project.



The main outcome of this project is a district-wide ICT platform for smart energy management (LIFE) connected to a wide range of energy devices and assets. The platform will monitor and control multiple devices, simulate the impact of control measures using a Digital Twin, and optimize flexibility with an intelligent algorithm while integrating with multiple energy markets. 

The platform will improve local clean energy self-sufficiency, add financial value for flexibility, and engage local people in the process. This project will also identify the conditions that such an area must meet to unlock and deploy flexibility and reach out to these areas and the wider public to encourage replication. 

By putting into practice a number of crucial methods, the LIFE project seeks to accelerate the energy transition. First, the project will make it simpler to incorporate different forms of sustainable power into local energy systems. Second, it will strengthen the commercial case for sustainable development by enhancing system performance and flexibility. Thirdly, by maximizing multi-energy infrastructure, the project will increase supply security and prevent the need for grid reinforcement. Additionally, by efficiently delivering heat and electricity to the nearby neighborhood, the project will make greater use of local sustainable energy. Finally, the LIFE project will work to be inclusive, making sure that all parties involved may benefit from it. The LIFE project is an all-encompassing strategy for speeding up the energy transition to a more sustainable future.

This project was made possible by support from the MOOI subsidy scheme.

a diagram of a building with a lot of information surrounding it.
an aerial view of a train station in a city.
a diagram of a building with a lot of information surrounding it.
an aerial view of a train station in a city.

Questions? Contact us!

Stefan Kop

Energy Consultancy Team Lead

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