The production of renewable energy (RE) from wind and solar resources is currently a priority in many countries. This is reflected in the growth of the share of RE in the total electricity production in the EU. Which increased from 9.6 percent in 2004 to 19.7 percent in 2019 (Eurostat, 2020). Following such a trend, in the Netherlands also, the growth of RE production from wind and solar between 2004 and 2019 was from 1.5 percent to 13.2 percent (Statline, 2022). This rapid growth is positive in the light of the Paris Agreement goals, though it is raising another issue in the energy sector, i.e., the fact that the wind is not always blowing and during night times there is no (sun) light. Therefore, there are extended periods when neither wind turbines nor solar panels are producing electricity. This intermittency of wind and solar energy asks for storage solutions (Notton et al., 2018)
Apart from this challenging technical aspect of RE, there is a movement for more independence from the electricity grid made possible by the decentralized character of RE production (Adil & Ko, 2016). To illustrate this, Hieropgewekt, a Dutch organization for local energy initiatives, reported that in the year 2021 there were 676 energy cooperatives actively operating in the Netherlands (Hieropgewekt, 2022).
This research is about whether battery storage in homes can be a solution to become more independent from the grid. The need for storage solutions and the growing wish for electricity independence come together on the island of Ameland. For this, we looked at Ameland as one of the Wadden Islands in the Netherlands because they have a specific goal of becoming frontrunners in the energy transition (Duurzaam Ameland, 2020). Because of their relatively isolated geographical position, islands can be an ideal environment for testing technical innovations in a protected niche environment before they enter the market (van den Bosch & Weterings, 2010) and become a more mainstream technology. Although there is some current research on the possibilities of energy storage, this is mainly constructed from a technical or economical perspective (Saarloos & Quinn, 2021; Speidel & Bräunl, 2016).
To precisely address the issue, our research question for this project is:
How can home batteries contribute to the goal of Ameland to become an energy-independent island, and accordingly, what incentives are needed to support widespread implementation?
Our research is focused on the drivers of home batteries development as a niche towards the evolution to a dominant regime, based on the perception of stakeholders in Ameland. We used the concept of strategic niche management (SNM) to study the possibilities and barriers for home batteries to widespread implementation. To do so, multiple stakeholders at different levels get involved with their participation in semi-structured interviews, such as the Municipality of Ameland, the Amelander Energie Coöperatie (AEC), energy storage technology companies, and the local community, which currently is conformed to around 3,746 inhabitants within 1,732 households (Duurzaam Ameland, 2020).
In the next chapter the background of Ameland and a literature review on energy storage technologies and how they address energy trilemma is demonstrated. In chapter three the conceptual framework for this research is explained. Chapter four explains the methodology by which the data collection and data analysis was made. Chapter five provides the results of the semi-structured interviews categorizing them within six drivers according to the SNM framework. Finally, the results will be discussed in chapter six and the report will end with the conclusions in chapter seven.