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19 Apr 2022

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Amsterdam Schiphol airport connects first companies to virtual electricity grid for real-time monitoring and distribution of power

The Schiphol Area Development Company (SADC) has reached a significant milestone in creating a local virtual power network in the Schiphol Trade Park business park at Amsterdam Schiphol airport. The virtual network is run by the Energy Collective Schiphol Trade Park. The first four of the current six members were connected live to the network. A number of data centers and digital companies are located in the Amsterdam Schiphol area.

The virtual grid is a solution to the temporary shortage of electricity transport capacity in the Amsterdam Schiphol region. The solution was achieved as a collaboration between development company SADC, companies at Schiphol Trade Park, grid operator Liander, and technology company Spectral. In the future, connected companies will be able to intelligently share their power capacity.

Smart distribution in virtual net

Through the development of a virtual network, companies lacking power can utilize the unused capacity of companies with capacity. In a statement, the development company explains that when the power grid is underutilized, "free space" is available. By measuring supply and demand in real-time within the virtual network, connected companies can distribute available capacity among themselves and use it optimally. Accordingly, up to 90% of the electricity demand of all companies (with and without capacity) can be met by the grid.

The available grid capacity is supplemented with (solar) energy from batteries and generators if nothing else is available. Spectral's smart-grid platform ensures maximum efficiency by monitoring and controlling the grid in real-time.

The high demand for electricity in the Netherlands leads to grid bottlenecks. There are similar problems in many other countries. Local grid company Liander says it is doing everything it can to connect customers to the grid on time. But oftentimes, the time required to expand the electricity grid is not the same as the time needed to build a business park. Together with other parties in the SADC partnership, Liander is exploring the possibility of finding more space on the existing electricity network. The use of a virtual grid that provides real-time monitoring and distribution of unused power is a prominent example of this.

Photo credit: Jan Rosolino

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