Charging at business parks: how to approach that?

Report GDZES MRA Meetup #9

In the future, about 80 percent of all charging sessions will take place on business parks. How will we achieve that? During the ninth GDZES MRA Meetup, it appears there is already a lot of energy and knowledge.

It is an insane task: if we all start driving electric vehicles in the future, an enormous charging capacity will be needed. An important part of that capacity is for logistics. In the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area we will need to make a plan to (fast) charge all those vans and trucks. Lead Mobility Richard Hoving therefore invited a diverse group of specialists to the IJ-kantine in Amsterdam on 14 April.

Free and independent advice

Frans van der Beek works for Projectbureau Herstructurering Bedrijventerreinen (PHB) and is well aware of the challenges facing the 280 industrial estates in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area. PHB works on behalf of the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area and the Province of North Holland. Business parks and entrepreneurs can turn to PHB for free and independent advice (no commercial interest), including on energy issues.

For example, PHB already supported and advised various business parks in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area, including a business park in Lijnden, which it helped research charging needs and its opportunities for solar panels and applied for quotes. Van der Beek: “When we started working there with one or two entrepreneurs, we soon saw interest in other companies as well.”

PHB works according to a ‘three-layer approach’, says Van der Beek. “We look at the obligations that entrepreneurs already have and try to support entrepreneurs in this (stimulating approach). In the second layer, we investigate which sustainability investments are possible per company and give advice on the business cases (economizing). We then make the step to the collective: if they work on a park with other companies, they can make use of a subsidy scheme from the province and get more done.”

In practice: Food Center Amsterdam

Dertje Meijer, director of the Food Center Amsterdam, shows that the charging issue is a small part of many challenges related to energy. The business park in the center of Amsterdam houses 45 food wholesalers and is undergoing restructuring.

“Entrepreneurs are not really concerned with how many charging stations they will get at their new premises, we notice. Also because we don’t know what we can offer yet. We prioritize cooling and freezing capacity and that already requires a lot of energy. If we are going to offer charging infrastructure: do we do that for company cars, or also for customers and staff?” In order to gain more clarity, Meijer will get more insight in the charging needs over the coming period.

Charging requirement in figures

The forecasts of the Nationale Agenda Laadinfrastructuur (NAL) may be able to help with this. The working group of the National Knowledge Platform for Charging Infrastructure is investigating which charging needs are expected on each of the 4,000 business parks in the Netherlands. “That way we find out where we have to make haste, before it’ll start to hurt. Regions can use the information, for example, to approach the grid operator and show them what is needed”, explains Robert van den Hoed. He is chairman of the NAL Logistics working group. The data will be freely accessible to all from 8 June.

In addition, the NAL is working on a number of interesting publications. The first is the Handreiking Depot Laden, a starting guide for (logistics) companies, the Handreiking Bedrijfsterreinen is especially for policymakers and then there will also be the Factsheet for mitigating measures grid connection. Van den Hoed: “We are looking at what we can do: are temporary batteries promising, or perhaps energy hubs? We see that things are getting a bit tricky here and there in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area, so we really have to get to work.”

One of the meetup attendees has a question about network operators. Can’t they act a little faster? “They make pre-investments on the basis of urgency and certainty, which cannot always be made tangible. There is often still far too little for companies,” explains Van den Hoed. “We hope to be able to increase this for some places in the future, with the data in hand. I hope they will get into gear sooner.”

Generating for own use

Eric Beers, advisor at Hytruck Consult & Partners, shows the opportunities for logistics service providers to generate their own electricity. “Charging that one car is quite possible now, but what will your company look like in 2030?”

Hytruck does simple quick scans, but also extensive calculations of the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), including subsidies and HBEs. These are Renewable Energy Units (Hernieuwbare Brandstof Eenheden) that the government uses as a reward for parties investing extra in charging infrastructure and the production of sustainable energy. According to Beers, they are crucial in our transition to electric logistics: “That way you get your TCO right.”

Hytruck helped Hulshoff and De Rooy Transport, among others. The latter now uses the battery of an older electric truck to store energy generated by solar panels. Thanks to the energy management system installed there, the company can also do priority charging.

The charging challenge is complex, emphasizes Beers. “How are we going to fast charge at distribution centers? That won’t work with poles, because those sites are too compact. Should it come from the ground? Or from the air?” And: “Look at hydrogen too!” Despite all the challenges, Beers thinks it’s cool to see how this topic gets everyone moving. “Conclusion: it is an incredibly beautiful time.”

Learning by doing

Maarten Linnenkamp, project manager MRA Elektrisch, explains how he is working on a charging infrastructure at the 600 business parks in North Holland, Utrecht and Flevoland. “It’s about thinking big and acting small with enthusiastic people,” he says. And about learning by doing. The project at logistics service provider Deudekom in Duivendrecht is a good example of this: thanks to an enthusiastic entrepreneur and an enthusiastic alderman, a smart charging station is now in use there.

Energy is the new gold

Walter Ploos van Amstel, lecturer in City Logistics at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, listened carefully during the meetup and reflected on what he heard. “In everything we discuss, we must not forget what we are doing this for: the climate. As a transport sector, we must emit six times less CO2 per kilometre, we cannot escape that. We have to make a lot of choices for that.” His advice: look at TNO’s integration model for electric delivery vehicles and freight vehicles (in Dutch). “Apply that to your own company and do the math. The data are there, especially after June 8,” he says, while looking at Van den Hoed of NAL. “I am an optimist and a realist,” concludes Ploos van Amstel. “I feel like we can all get rich here if we start thinking smarter about our challenges. Energy is the new gold.”

Text: Mirjam Streefkerk

#slimgroengezond

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