An acceleration of energy transition is urgently needed to combat further climate change, and all possible steps must be taken to bring that about. Qurrent is one of the many sustainable energy initiatives that DOEN has supported to that end. In 2018, following seven years of rapid growth and development, DOEN will give more impact to the innovative initiatives of this green energy pioneer by transferring its shares to Greenchoice.
€11.9 Million of the contribution from the Deamfund was devoted to setting up and developing Qurrent – a fully owned subsidiary of the DOEN Foundation – while €1.6 Million was assigned to HIER Opgewekt. Qurrent started as a dream, and was set up with the firm ambition to achieve large-scale reductions in the CO2 emissions of Dutch households through saving electricity and generating their own sustainable energy. In previous years, DOEN had seen that there were plenty of technical possibilities and that very many households were interested but, to our growing frustration, very few results had been achieved.
Qurrent started with the Qbox, a device to monitor energy consumption in the home. As their own energy company, customers were offered a total concept for generating and saving electricity. The business plan was further refined in 2013 with a major focus on building a customer group that could themselves contribute to the energy transition. In order to give both customer and electricity company the same objective of saving as much power as possible and generating power themselves, no profit was earned on supplying energy. Many customers decided to take part, but, in order to achieve real change, Qurrent had to be developed further. DOEN made an extra €7.2 Million available for this over the years.
In order to involve customers more, the Qurrent Co-operative was set up, of which all Qurrent customers automatically became members. In the Co-operative, they work together to generate electricity that cannot be generated in the home. Now, the Hellegatsplein wind farm has four turbines, each producing three megawatts. Their construction was funded by a loan from the Triodos Bank and DOEN Participaties BV. Now, in 2018, the co-operative is the biggest of its kind in the Netherlands. Members can share in a solar farm or buy an affordable share in a wind turbine in Qurrent’s own wind farm.
Qurrent supplies totally ‘green’ energy at cost price. For the fourth year running, the Consumentenbond (the Dutch Consumer Association) and Greenpeace have ranked Qurrent the greenest energy supplier in the Netherlands. And as well as supplying energy, Qurrent actively helps customers to generate and save electricity. Thanks to Qurrent a growing movement of more than 120,000 customers has arisen in a short time, but the ambition is even greater. That's why Qurrent has been Feyenoord's main sponsor since 2017 and its Kuip stadium has switched completely to green energy.
On 11 March 2018, TV weatherman Piet Paulusma opened the first Buurtmolen, or Neighbourhood Turbine, in the Netherlands in the town of Herbaijum in Friesland. No less than 460 local residents are proud owners. They benefit from the lowest electricity prices in the Netherlands, because no energy tax has to be paid. The turbine was financed by crowdfunding, with additional donations from a local fund. This meant that the co-owners of the neighbourhood turbine did not need to invest in advance, but could purchase electricity straight away.
Green players joining forces
In August, DOEN announced that it wanted to sell its entire shareholding to Greenchoice, in order to provide Qurrent's initiatives with more impact. This joining of forces has enabled Qurrent's innovative energy generation and saving initiatives (120,000 customers) to reach Dutch consumers faster. The missions of both energy companies match each other perfectly. As a new shareholder, Greenchoice (with over 400,000 customers) will soon benefit from Qurrent's pioneering work and innovations. Together they can work more efficiently and invest even more in their green mission.