Remco van der Horst, COO of renewable energy crowdinvesting company Duurzaaminvesteren and founder of consultancy Greenproc, was one of the key people who organized meetings for me during my cleantech tour of the Netherlands last year. Ironically, because my on-camera chat with him and Christiaan van Nispen of energy giant RWE was so long and interesting (and not focused on news or very timely matters), it’s one of the last ones I’ve gotten to editing and publishing from that trip … but I finally have.
Here’s a rundown of the chat if you don’t have time to watch it all or want to jump to specific sections:
- Dutch energy policy: Remco noted that the Netherlands lost its leadership position in the wind industry, but things are likely to pick up due to a push from the EU (looming renewable energy targets the NL has to hit).
- Energy companies have to find a new role (particularly, as an aggregator or organizer) in the new world order of energy, Christian added.
- One of the reasons for the NL’s delay in moving forward with a transition to renewable energy is simply the sunk costs/investments in old/dirty power plants, and a willingness to let them keep running and then transition more to renewables when they retire.
- Remco talked a bit about renewable energy subsidies in the Netherlands, but then highlighted that subsidies are basically an inadequate way of trying to balance the market since we don’t have power companies internalizing the true cost of pollution and carbon emissions.
- Christian spoke a bit about the advantages of Tesla’s Supercharger network.
- Speaking about EV subsidies in the Netherlands, Remco mentioned that electric cars charging on public streets in Amsterdam don’t have to pay for parking, but a later interview with Hans Verwijs of EV charging company Blue Corner said that is no longer the case — even electric car drivers have to pay for parking now.
- We transitioned into a chat about the energy efficiency startup work Christian had been working on before moving to RWE.
- We also talked a little bit about the electricity markets in the Netherlands and Germany.
- At the time of the interview, Christian was working on smart home stuff within RWE. (Now, he’s moved onto something else we’ll probably write about another day.)
- Then we launched into a chat about Remco’s work at a renewable energy crowdinvesting startup. A nice thing about his startup is that you can invest fairly low amounts (€250 or more) and just need to be a Dutch citizen and have a Dutch bank account. That’s a very accessible option for investing in renewable energy which startups in the US have not been able to offer (unfortunately).
- Remco then delved into the clean energy transition and how poorly large corporations and large countries are adjusting to and facilitating the transition.
- Christian then told us a bit about smart meters, including more advanced ones that allow granular data collection in segments just minutes or even seconds apart.
- Naturally, we also somehow transitioned into a discussion about going off the grid versus participating in one of the biggest and oldest forms of the now-popular “sharing economy.” The discussion, of course, reflects discussions we’ve had many times in the comments under CleanTechnica articles.
- We wrapped up the on-camera chat by talking about energy desegregation and smart appliances.
A lot of fun stuff, and one of the most enjoyable chats about renewable energy and cleantech that I think I’ve ever had. A huge thanks to Remco and Christian for spending the time.