Current trends and developments signal that we are on the eve of a sharp acceleration in the transition towards a more sustainable energy supply. Our stakeholders expect us to make a substantial contribution towards the new energy landscape. To this end, we have defined a clear four-pillar strategy.
1. Support customers in making choices
Customers are gaining more and more influence over the energy system. Incentives can encourage them to make choices that not only work out well for them, but also for our energy system as a whole. More specifically, we need to make it attractive for customers to buy energy in times of abundance, sell energy in times of scarcity and refrain from using the energy network at peak times. To this end, customers must be able to decide for every 15-minute or hourly time slot whether using, selling or storing energy is the best option for them. This is one reason for offering the smart meter to our customers in the coming years. But we are also working on solutions that will enable customers to exchange energy among themselves.
2. New open networks
To achieve an energy supply at the lowest possible costs to society as a whole, we must develop new infrastructures and make these accessible to everyone on equal terms. If, for instance, a local community wants to install heat pumps in every individual home, the demand for electricity in that area will rise sharply (especially on cold days). The electricity network would require a substantial upgrade to meet this increased demand. It is vital to ascertain with all stakeholders whether this is the cheapest and most sustainable solution. At local level, an alternative infrastructure (such as a heating or biogas network) may be a better option. It is crucial that this new infrastructure is open and that consumers can choose whom they get their energy from. Facilitating the energy market in this respect forms an important element of our corporate social responsibility.
Our existing electricity and gas networks are not equipped to cope with the effects of the energy transition. We are opting for digitisation to make our existing networks future-proof. ICT allows us to quickly detect and even prevent faults, make more targeted investments in the networks and offer customers the data they need to make sensible energy choices. In this way, we can often restrict the need for costly network upgrades.
4. Excellent network management as the basis
The Dutch energy network is among the most reliable in the world. We aim to ensure that this remains the case. Through efficient management and economies of scale, we are keeping the existing networks affordable. We also want to further increase the comfort our customers experience when we are carrying out work on their behalf. The trust of our customers is important, both to perform our traditional daily work and to realise our new network ambitions.