SWITCH field lab of TNO and Wageningen University & Research/ACRRES opened

Sustainable solar energy on land and water
System integration wind
28 March 2024

The SWITCH fieldlab in Lelystad was opened on Wednesday 27 March. Here, TNO and Wageningen University & Research/ACRRES are investigating how our future energy system, with wind and solar as primary sources, can remain stable and affordable.

The SWITCH fieldlab integrates wind turbines, solar panels, storage and conversion systems in such a way that energy supply can be matched to market demand while optimising electricity grid utilisation.

Opening SWITCH_EDV0070
Opening SWITCH fieldlab

Flexible energy system

Innovations are necessary to maintain the stability and affordability of the electricity grid. The use of fossil fuels is being phased out, switching to renewable energy production. Meanwhile, the electricity grid becomes so congested that businesses and new homes cannot be connected. Henk Jan Vink, managing director of TNO's Energy and Materials Transition unit, explains ‘A systemic approach is required. The SWITCH lab specifically enables us to test and design solutions on a small scale together with companies, government, and knowledge institutions, to make our future energy system flexible and stable. This helps to prevent scenarios such as potential grid congestion when we produce large quantities of wind energy in the North Sea by 2030.’

Opening SWITCH_EDV0109
Guided tour SWITCH lab

TNO and WUR/ACRRES have been working in recent years on the realization of the SWITCH field lab, where various configurations of generation, storage, and usage systems can be tested. The aim is to help solve the challenges of the energy transition. The field lab can be used to further make the agricultural sector more sustainable. Chris de Visser, Business Unit Manager at WUR/ACRRES, says: 'The field lab can contribute to enabling rural areas to produce more sustainable energy despite grid congestion by maximizing the local use of produced energy.'


An impression of the opening and the lab

A unique test facility

The SWITCH fieldlab incorporates wind turbines, solar panels, an electrolyser and a battery system in a power range of 25-60kW. By interconnecting these components via specially designed computer models, energy supply can be aligned with market demand while optimizing electricity grid usage. What sets this facility apart is its ability to directly link solar and wind production to the elektrolyser and battery. This enables testing a wide variety of industrial and societal use cases and developing control strategies accordingly.

Read more about system integration wind energy

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