Sustainable Innovation

French government presents new plan for boosting sustainable development

Jean-Francois Borloo has unveiled his new plan for boosting sustainable development in France. New goals are set to encourage green economy as well as backing the creation of an World Organisation for global governance on environmental issues.

By launching its new plan  ‘La Strategie National du Développement Durable 2010-2013′ government Sarkozy wants to boost the national green economy and fair trade.  The new plan is in line with the bills ‘Grenelle d’Environnement I and II that have been presented previously in 2007 and 2010 (1,2).

First of all, the French government wants to make sustainable products more accessible and to more people. As one of the indicators for this, the sales of eco-labelled products should be doubled by 2012.

Secondly, the French government wants to encourage companies to ncrease their recycling practices, use renewable energy and develop responsible products by taking into consideration the complete life cycle of products : from design, production, distribution until disposal or recycling.

Among the goals (see all here) are :

  • Reduction of Frances  greenhouse gas emissions by 20% in 2020 compared to 1990 (similar to EU objectives)
  • Increasing the part of French national energy consumption to 23% from renewable energy by 2020. Despite extensive oppositions from (fishing) communities in France a RFP will be launched for 600 offshore windmills representing 3000 MW and 10 to 15 billion euros (3)
  • Realisation of at least 1000 ‘Agenda 21’  implementations within local communities,
  • And a reduction of national poverty by 30%  up till 2012.

Special dashboards have been developed to track the progress of a variety of indicators : R&D investments, working women participation within governmental institutions, green house gas emissions, renewable energies, energie consumption transport,  life expectancy, pauvrity, working seniors, jobless youngsters, public donations and general social-economical factors like under and unemployment, income spread, demography and fertility rates.

Sarkozy is also supporting the development of a new World Environment Organisation. This new organisation should guarantee environmental governance on a global level. The next Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit 2012 is ought to be the good momentum (4).

If you want to read more about French sustainability developments I invite you to read my previous blogs on : Pacte Ecologique of Nicolas Hulot that urged for stronger governmental intervention ; Grenelle d’Environnement I focussing on Building Sector and Transport ;  Why Eco-labels are developed to help consumers make a balanced choice, CSR reporting rules extended to large SMEs ; Grenelle 2 focussing on local application ; How to turn around media saturation’ and  Why targeted examples of individual benefits of responsible products and behaviour are needed.

Sources : 1. ; 2.; 3.; 4. ;


Eneco teaming up to supply 100% renewable energy by 2030 and generate 70% of this

The Dutch energy provider Eneco want to supply 100% renewable energy by 2030, of which 70% generated by its own facilities.  30% is expected to be generated decentrally by households and enterprises. New technical capacities (such as smart grids) are under development and new business models are being explored.


 Martijn Verbeek is Manager Sustainable Innovation at the Dutch Energy Provider Eneco

Eneco is one of the top 3 energy providers in the Netherlands. The company has been founded in 1995 from a merger of local energy companies (Rotterdam, The Hague and Dordrecht). The shares of the company are now owned by 60 Dutch municipalities (1). Enecos Head Office is located in Rotterdam. The company employs 7,000 employees and creates an annual turnover of 5,2 billion euros (2009) (2).

The Eneco Group consists of the Energy Company, with the business units Eneco Supply (Business & Retail in the Netherlands and Belgium), Éneco Installation Companies, Eneco Energy Trade, Eneco Heat Companies, Eneco Wind, Eneco Solar, Bio & Hydro and Eneco Strategic Assets and Joulz (infrastructure company) and Stedin (gas and electricity network management). (Energy Trade is trading energy and carbon emissions, see also the earlier article about Philips and the joint project Luz Verde).

Within the Eneco Energy Company, the Departments Eneco Wind and Eneco Solar, Bio & Hydro are responsible for the sustainable production strategy, both large-scale as well as decentralised projects, based on energy created by wind, biomass, sun and water.


Eneco initiates the development of large-scale and decentralised renewable energy projects such as solar energy and wind energy sites

Martijn Verbeek is Manager Sustainable Innovation Retail

Verbeek holds a degree in Business Economics and has covered different marketing, sales and business development positions in the Energy and Telecom market. Verbeek was appointed as Manager Consultant Sustainable Energy as of 2007. In this role he is leading development of renewable energy projects in close cooperation with private and public partners as well as knowledge institutes.

 1.      What are the CSR & Sustainability Objectives of Eneco ?

The annual report of 2008 states : Eneco wants to have a leading position in North-West Europe in future oriented sustainable energy supply, energy available and affordable for everybody. It wants to be a source of inspiration to others by demonstrating that a swift transition for fossil to sustainable energy is both technically possible and viable’. (4)

To reach the position of thé exemplary renewable energy provider, Eneco has chosen 3 strategy pillars (3) :

1. Become leading in Sustainable Energy Solutions : As of 2012 20%, as of 2020 70% and in 2030 100% of the energy of Eneco should be generated in a sustainable matter, by large-scale and decentralised energy solutions, expanding district heating networks and facilitating third party sustainable energy products. Eneco will use wind-, solar-, bio- and hydro-energy combined in the first decades with gasplants. In 2008, 33% of Eneco’s energy was generated by its own plants; in 2009 this was 47.5% (52.5% is bought from other suppliers), with the ambition to develop this to 70% in 2012, Therefore, the switch is feasible, explains Verbeek.

Examples of the various renewable energy projects developed and maintained by Eneco  in Netherlands and Belgium: solar, wind, bio, geothermic energy projects. (5).

2. Strengthening the vertical integration : increasing gas facilities as the stepping stone towards full renewable energies, positioning trade of gas as a core activity. Eneco would like to keep control over the whole value chain, which means it wants to be involved in energy generating, trade and distribution. See picture below.


The Energy Value chain with activities of Eneco Energy Company (Energiebedrijf), Joulz (infrastructure/distribution) and Stedin (gas and electricity network management) (5)

 3.       Excellent Supply Activities : cost control & working capital, customer satisfaction  

To illustrate Eneco’s strategy, the company has made a firm statement about the, to its opinion, insufficient Dutch governmental commitments with respect to renewable energies by not signing the Energy Convenant in 2008. This convenant was drafted between the Dutch Government and Energy Providers. Thought the convenant contains a calendar for wind and solar energy, Eneco opposes the choice for coal plants instead of gas as a transitional electricity means. Eneco believes that The The Netherlands is making itself too much dependant on the large-scale implementation of new coal plants which will be eventually much more expensive and worse for the environment than gas, the alternative transition energy.

 2.      How does Sustainability lead to Innovation at Eneco ?

Verbeek has identified seven trends in the energy sector  that are all endorsing innovation and new business at Eneco :

1.       Energy supply is moving towards a decentralised energy exploitation model : Households,  companies and energy providers will start to generate locally their energy. Solar panels, wind mills, heath and warmth storage and heath and energy units will reduce the total volumes of electricity and gas to be transported to the individual homes and enterprises. Some homes and enterprises will even generate more energy than needed. Energy infrastructure providers will be generating renewable energy and will also be obliged to buy the ‘surplus’.


Example of decentralised energy generation by a Combined Heath and Power (CH) system that produces heath and energy for a house or even a district (6). 

2. Real time energy information : It will be important to have real time information available on energy consumption and generation. This is needed for a proper billing, but also for informing customers the right price and energy mix at a given time (develop consciousness in energy use). Interactive thermostats including a display will become common practice to inform the users about their energy spend (KwH and costs). These will be connected to the in-house energy meter and/or the central heating system. Intelligent functions of this new displays are foreseen like a central meter and switch that automatically switches on the washing machine when solar energy is locally produced and energy cost are relatively low.

3. Upcoming electrical cars in cities. Eneco is adapting to the trend of the upcoming electrical cars that would need energy loading points in the city. The first four energy spots NRGSpot’ have been created in Rotterdam (7). Eneco is playing a leading role in the development of EV, with the NRGSpot that hold both a load- and payment platform.


The Eneco NRG Spot, loading points for electrical cars and scooters in Rotterdam (7)

4. Co-creation with customers.  Verbeek explains how Eneco is using interactive sessions with customers to develop new solutions to define user requirements and to create citizen acceptance. An example is the configuration of the windmills of the newly built ‘Prines Amaliapark’ 23 km outside the coast of IJmuiden (60 turbines, 120 MW, 400 MWh/a). Citizens and companies have advised about the formation of the mills with respect to the scenery and harbour entrance. The park is generating about 1,5% of the total Energy supply, enough for more than 125.000 of Eneco customers (9). Comparable consultings with households that live in the direct neighbourhood take place in onshore Wind projects.


 Prinses Amaliapark, 120 MW, 23 km outside Dutch coast, west of Amsterdam (8)

5. Cooperation with civilian associations. Citizens and companies can make the choice to purchase only wind energy by choosing Eneco’s ‘Windstroom’ (11) that garantees 100% Dutch wind mill electricity. With the product ‘MijnWindstroom’, Eneco is targeting the households that live in the surroundings of on-shore Windparks, by supplying them the Wind energy from these specific windturbines.

Eneco is also supporting associations of citizens, companies and public organisations aiming for a self supply with renewable energy. An example is the ‘Windvogel’ (wind bird) (12). The association is managing 4 windmills in region of Zuid-Holland, west of Utrecht. Costs are beared by the citizens who are members of the association, subventions and loans. An estimation is that with the windmills about 1600 households can be supplied with renewable energy. The association has started with local organisations and Eneco a pilot for selfsupply. Eneco is facilitating this by offering supply, knowledge and services. Simultaneously it is increasing its knowledge about this new kind of public-private-citizen initiatives that are likely to become common in the future.

Another example is the participation of residents in The Hague in the Scheveningen Windturbine, bundled with the supply of the wind energy it generates (opening May 19th).


 Cooperative association ‘De Windvogel’ that aims to create renewable energy projects that are self supplying with one of its windmills ‘De Windvogel’ in Bodegraven (12)

Another example is the cooperation with ‘Zeekracht’. This association is also initiated by civilians together with the ONG ‘Natuur & Milieu’ and business partners ASN Bank and Eneco. It has a high ambition to speed up the development of new windmill parks (6000 MWh) in the North Sea to ensure the future energy supply in The Netherlands (13). The initiative has been endorsed by a well known Dutch television man, Beau van Erven Dorven. The world famous architect Rem Koolhaas (known from Parc de la Vilette 1982, Dutch Kunsthal 1992) has developed the lay-out of an international supergrid, that connects the offshore Windparks in the North Sea. Dutch citizens can become Zeekracht member and owner as of 10 euro per year. Zie ook


Zeekracht Association of NGO ‘Natuur en Milieu’, civilians, ASN Bank and Eneco, endorsed by Famous Dutch Television Personality Beau van Erven Dorven

Design of an Offshore supergrid, by Rem Koolhaas (OMA)

‘Zeekracht’ Cooperation of Dutch civilian-members developing off-shore windmills endorsed by Dutch TV personality Beau van Erven Dorven (left) (13)

6.       Cooperation with municipalities. Eneco has its roots in municipalities structures and still cooperating closely with local bodies. In The Hague West, for instance, it is actively participating in the project to heat over 4000 houses by using the earth warmth found 2,2 km below surface, reducing CO2 emissions of 5000 ktons/year (14). See also the article about the Municipality of The Hague. Other projects are the renovations of the district heating system (Delft), windmills (The Hague) and Barendrecht (sun energy).

Eneco is one of the partners of The Hague Geothermic project to heat 4000 houses by using earth warmth of 2,2 km depth (14).

7.       Cooperation with Industry Partners. The last of the seven trends mentioned is the increasing cooperation between industry partners that aim for holistic solutions. For instance, in Libramont (Belgium) Eneco realised together with Bio Energie Europe a sustainable energy island for industrial partner l’Oreal. In 2009 the installation was started to deliver all electricity and heat that l’Oreal needs for its factories in the Ardennes. The installations (  run on biogas made out of biomass achieved from the nearby farmers.

Biogasinstallation in Libramont (B)

Eneco is one of the founders of the Dutch Green Building Council, that has the objective to communicate about sustainable business solutions and endorse BREEAM NL as the Dutch standard for sustainable properly development. 


The Dutch Green Building Council, official member of the World Green Business Council

3. What are the effects of the economical crisis on the Sustainability policy ?

Enecos Sustainability Policies are not changed because of the economical crises. The plans to invest in central and decentral renewable energy projects remain.

Though competitors have  recently been bought by foreign energy companies (Nuon bought by the Swedish Vattenfall and Essent by the German e.ON), Eneco is pursuing an independent strategy. . It has made a clear choice and will focus on investments in solar, wind, biomass energy projects. Which means it won’t invest in new coal plants.

4.   Which trends do you foresee for the near future ?

Eneco’s role will develop from an energy supplier to a facilitator. Energy suppliers have to be prepared for decentrally generated energy, in cooperation with customers. First of all, this means a technological challenge. New features need to be added to the core energy network including real time information supply. Secondly, the customer relationship will change incredibly. Eneco will need to facilitate, assist and help its customers. The provider will become more and more an energy consultant, advising its customers on their energy and heat projects.

Different factors remain difficult to predict : the speed of which fossil fuels become scarce, the governmental subventions and the performance coefficients of new technologies. The factors will largely influence the performance and cost, and thus the adaption of renewable energies. No matter what the speed or governmental subventions, Verbeek is convinced that Eneco will be very well placed thanks to its early experiences with renewable energy projects currently undertaken.

Sources : 1 : Eneco Corporate Brochure ‘Moving Ahead’, 2009 ; 2. ; 3.; 4.    Eneco Holding Annual Report 2008 ; 5. Eneco Algemene Presentatie 2009, Duurzame Energie voorziening voor iedereen, 6. 7.; 8. ; 9.  10. www.favelafabric.coml; 11. Pages/windstroom.aspxl; 12.; 13. ; 14.