How it started
Our reliance on fossil fuels is undiminished and the transition to a sustainable energy supply is proceeding much too slowly. In fact, the Netherlands is lagging far behind. For this reason, in 2011 the Klimaatbureau (Climate Agency), the Natuur- en Milieufederaties (Nature and Environment Federations) and the DOEN Foundation launched the ‘We Generate’ initiative and requested financial support from ‘het Droomfonds’ (the Dreamfund) of the Dutch Postcode Lottery. The Dreamfund finances large-scale projects that can achieve a real breakthrough on the path to a cleaner, more beautiful world. The Dreamfund contributed 13.5 Million euro.
What started as a dream to speed up energy transition in the Netherlands has developed into Qurrent and HIER Opgewekt. €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 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. Fantastic start-ups like Solesta with its superior solar water heater and Wonen++, which made saving very easy, never got off the ground, while climate change was becoming ever more apparent.
Qurrent started with the Qbox, a device to monitor energy consumption in the home. The Qbox provides customers with a quick overview of their consumption, enabling them to take the first steps in saving. 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 has 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 participate inexpensively in a wind turbine in Qurrent’s own wind farm.
Where does Qurrent stand at the moment?
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.
Many people are taking part in Qurrent, but they are still a long way from their target. And people will take part only if they know about them. In 2017 Qurrent became the new principal partner of Feyenoord football club. Since January 2018, De Kuip has switched to green energy, resulting in a CO2 saving of no less than 3700 tons per year. This is equivalent to planting 616 football fields full of trees. Thanks to the cooperation with Feyenoord even more people can participate. This is important for accelerating the energy transition that counteracts further climate change.
To find out more about Qurrent, see www.qurrent.nl
Why did the DOEN Foundation start Qurrent?
To combat further climate change, it is essential to speed up energy transition. Everything possible must be done to that end. Qurrent is one of the many sustainable energy initiatives that the DOEN Foundation supports.
Qurrent is a supplier of so-called ‘bright green’ energy (from renewable sources in the Netherlands) that makes no profit from its customers’ consumption. Because of this, Qurrent can allow its customers to save as much electricity as possible, and generate it themselves. In fact, Qurrent’s approach has set an inspiring example. Many Dutch people are interested in generating their own electricity. They want to take control into their own hands, by joining one of many local energy co-operatives, for example. A national energy company that supports this movement is a new development and is accelerating the shift of these early adaptors to mainstream. With Qurrent, DOEN wants to set an example. We cannot wait for others to take over the task. Once the market focuses on generating and saving, DOEN will have succeeded in its purpose. The final objective is the maximum profit to society through sound business operations.
Why is it socially important to start Qurrent as an innovative energy company?
How much money did the DOEN Foundation receive to set up Qurrent?
Has the DOEN foundation bought a wind farm for Qurrent?
What does the DOEN Foundation think of the partnership between Qurrent and Feyenoord football club?
What is HIER Opgewekt?
On the website www.hieropgewekt.nl you can find a list of approximately 313 initiatives in the field of local renewable energy generation in the Netherlands.