Schoonschip’s emphasis on sustainability is highlighted by its goals of minimizing environmental effect, cutting carbon emissions, and boosting energy efficiency. In order to maximize sustainability and rely solely on a single grid connection shared by all users, the project needs creative solutions and careful thought. The floating community must successfully balance energy demand and supply while also maximizing resource allocation, maintaining grid resilience, encouraging collaborative management, and ensuring scalability and future development.
The project seeked to create a robust and sustainable energy system that enabled participants to meet their energy demands while reducing their environmental impact by tackling these complex issues.
The development of the smart grid technology at Schoonschip was a core focus of the “Grid-Friends” R&D initiative – a collaboration between Spectral, the Schoonschip community, and Fraunhofer Institute (Germany’s leading application technology research institution).
Each floating dwelling is equipped with a battery system, smart heat pump, and electrical solar panels. Some also have heat storage tanks and thermal solar panels. All of these devices are connected to STELLAR, which is responsible for optimizing the local energy balance and facilitating peer-to-peer energy exchange.
Our approach changes throughout the seasons. During winter time, we use the method of peak shaving. Peak shaving aims to keep the peak demand or supply on the joint Liander connection as low as possible. This minimizes the costs to Liander. The systems of the solar panels have the option of being (partially) switched off or regulated back in order to reduce the feed-in peak. To date, peak shaving of the solar panels has not been necessary.
The smart grid network also includes delivery to and from Schoonschip neighbors. The smart grid algorithm controls these energy flows. The focus is on self-consumption (use of generated solar power within the Schoonschip community) during the summer season, while during winter time, the focus is on minimizing the peak load on the main connection (the joint Liander grid connection) as much as possible. Such matters are arranged by the algorithm of the smart grid. The control for the summer months may therefore differ from the control in the winter.
The energy assets at Schoonschip are being aggregated together with large-scale storage and production systems into a Virtual Power Plant which will help balance the European electricity network and replace the role of fossil-fuel plants. Schoonschip provides a concrete, practical case which demonstrates how prosumers can play an active role in the sustainable energy transition. The Schoonschip smart grid has been running successfully since 2018, and Spectral is currently scaling up the technology which was developed at Schoonschip across numerous other cutting-edge smart grid projects, including the ground-breaking Schiphol Trade Park “Virtual Net”. To our knowledge, the Schoonschip smart grid, still to this day, represents the most advanced residential smart grid globally!