EU deal paves way for Utrecht energy project

Opening of the so-called return stations in Lombok, Utrecht (Picture: Twitter/@JorisLaponder). Opening of the so-called return stations in Lombok, Utrecht (Picture: Twitter/@JorisLaponder)

On Monday an innovation deal was signed in Brussels that removes obstacles for storing energy in batteries. Companies in Utrecht's Lombok neighborhood have been . The Urecht project is one of two innovation deals that the European Commission selected out of 32 proposals. "An important step", State Secretary Mona Keijzer of Economic Affairs and Climate said, ANP reports.

The Lombok project involves temporarily storing solar generated electricity in the batteries of electric cars. Electric car charging stations are connected to solar panels on homes, businesses and schools in the neighborhood. The energy collected by the solar panels is temporarily stored in car batteries and then withdrawn again if needed for power in homes, businesses and schools.

"The exchange, storage and later use of renewable energy by using electric cars or re-used battiers in your own neighborhood is a striking example of a local, innovative solution for the worldwide challenges of making energy and transport more sustainable", Keijzer said on Monday. "The fact that the European Commission chose this Utrecht innovation as a test demonostrates the economic opportunities of this development."

The use of old batteries is currently still hampered by European rules. The reuse of batteries must comply with European environmental regulations, makng the large-scale storage of electricity unattractive. The reuglations on linking batteries and electric cars to the local energy grid are also unlcear. The new innovation deal aims to clarify these uncertainties.

Keijzer signed the deal with the EU Commissioners for Environment and Innovation, the Utrecht initiator Robin Berg of LomboXnet, and the province of Utrecht. French companies Renault and Bouygues, and the French Ministers for Environement and Economy also signed the deal. 

Berg is excited about this innovation deal and sees growth opportunities in the use of electric car batteries in the energy grid. "This cooperation helps to implement this on a large scale in the future and to make Europe a leader in this", he said, according to the news wire.