The Dutch city of Rotterdam is to begin a project to connect 20,000 homes plus wind turbines and solar photovoltaic plants to a smart grid.

The initiative involves Dutch grid operator Stedin and energy service provider Lyv Smart Lyving, with the core element being a decentralized energy management system called DEMS from Siemens.

Omnetric Group, a Siemens joint venture with Accenture, is to deliver the IT services for the project.

The aim of the scheme is to provide intelligent control of power generation and consumption, starting in the Rotterdam district of Merwe-Vierhavens, in order to even out consumption peaks, avoid grid overloads and save energy and distribution costs.

Another goal is to encourage investment in more renewable energy sources and energy storage systems as well as to make new business models possible.

The decentralized energy management system DEMS will serve as a platform for the smart electricity grid in Rotterdam to balance the fluctuations of generation and loads and to compensate power peaks in the grid.

It also offers companies and households that generate power themselves attractive conditions for marketing surplus electricity, thereby turning those customers into ‘prosumers’.

“In this way the Rotterdam smart grid is also expected to stimulate the local economy and smooth the way for innovations and new business possibilities,” said Siemens. “The mix of large and small port-related companies as well as private homes in Rotterdam will provide a suitable test environment for the smart grid pilot project.”

After successful completion of the test phase, the project partners are planning to extend the smart grid to other districts and later to outside Rotterdam, with one million additional connections.

“Working with locally generated power from photovoltaic plants and wind turbines, the Smart Electricity Grid Rotterdam will make it possible to have an optimized energy balance by 2050,” Siemens added. “It is also hoped that this will create a possible solution for also providing other regions of the Netherlands with electrical power in the future.”