Republica Microgrid

Developing an energy positive community

Republica Papaverweg is an area development of 20.000 m2 located in Buiksloterham, Amsterdam North, consisting of a large hotel, three residential buildings, two commercial buildings, and a large parking structure. We have been involved from the ground up, starting with a feasibility study and acquiring special regulatory exemptions to develop a private microgrid. Spectral is responsible for the engineering of Republica’s smart energy systems, which will include an integrated (private) electrical and thermal network, centralized heat pumps coupled to an Aquifer Thermal Energy Storage (ATES) system, local PV production plants, smart E.V. charging points, and a 1,2 MWh battery system.
PARTNERS Vink Bouw, Marc Koehler Architects, ATEPS, van Galen, Vaanster, Schoonderbeek, Techniplan, ATELIER, Machiel Brautigam
DATE May 2017 – Present
1
Challenge

Republica provides an amazing test case for us to build an extensive microgrid and optimize it. The software we’re building needs to manage diverse assets, such as a community battery, PV panels, an aquifer thermal energy storage system (ATES), heat pumps, above-ground thermal energy buffers, E.V. charging points, and building HVAC systems.

Our goal in managing those assets is to ensure maximum energy efficiency and to deliver multiple stacked energy services. Those energy services work on both the local (e.g. peak shaving, maximizing solar self-consumption) and national level (frequency regulation services to unburden the grid). Besides managing the microgrid and the assets, we also empower the Republica Energy Cooperative: a collective that consists of local residents (both homeowners and tenants) and businesses (like the hotel owner and the ATES system operator). The collective will fulfill the roles of energy supplier and local grid operator, including all of the complex administrative processes that come with that.

We aim to create a positive business case, proving the concept and making sure we can bring this solution to market, so we can create the most impact possible. Our end goal is to demonstrate how renewable-based microgrids can provide a cost-effective, scalable alternative to the status quo of public grid networks.

2
Approach

We were fortunate enough to be involved in the Republica project from the beginning. This means we can make sure the whole electricity system will be set up for the most success possible. Our basic approach has been to try to make everything smart, flexible, and interconnected. The collaboration between the parties responsible for the project ensures that our common goal will be achieved. Marc Koehler Architects opted for high-quality insulation, which helped bring down electricity usage, for example. We were consulted on the design of the battery room, but also on the choice of the exact battery to be used. We have been the key driver in getting an extra community solar plant. The same was true for other assets like the heat pump used.

The next step is to integrate all of those assets into our energy management software solution based on our previous experience. Integrating the assets and making them communicate with each other enables us to finetune the settings based on the data. Using that, we can control the assets. Since the owners of Republica generate their own energy and their neighbors use that energy, our platform automatically bills members, making sure financial settlements between members are as easy as possible. The platform has made it possible for Republica to be its own energy supplier and grid operator. The various Republica members will also be able to see their own energy consumption, the source of their energy, the efficiency of their assets, and its actual production.

3
Outcome

The whole community (which consists of 74 apartments, office space, a large hotel, leisure facilities, a parking structure, and a restaurant space) will share one grid connection. Republica has become its own private grid operator, ensuring extremely local energy use, lower tariffs, and lower energy costs. Because the installations will be used more efficiently, they will save energy daily and are expected to have a longer operating life.

Every project builds on the successes of the previous ones allowing us to radically scale our positive impact on the environment and prove the renewable energy business model to the world.

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Julian Croker

Power Systems Engineer

Any questions?

For more information about this project, please get in touch.