Intospace completes self-sufficient distribution centre at Schiphol Trade Park

  29 April 2022  |    News

Logistics property developer Intospace has completed a new distribution centre at Schiphol Trade Park that is the first in the Netherlands with the ability to fully meet its own energy needs. The centre is designed to operate off-grid, meaning it’s not dependent on the public electricity grid. The building generates energy independently and any electricity not used in the building is fed back into the public grid. Partly due to this, the building has been awarded the highest possible energy label of A+++++. This triumph of electricity generation, storage and exchange was made possible through cooperation with energy infrastructure specialist Joulz.

The distribution centre includes 55,000 square metres of storage space, 6,500 square metres of mezzanine floor and 5,300 square metres of office space. The building also has 64 docks for trucks and delivery vans and four ground-level doors for trucks. In addition to the highest possible energy label, the building also has the highest BREEAM sustainability certification of ‘outstanding’. Intospace CEO Tim Beckmann says: “With this development, Intospace is showing that the problem of public grid congestion does not have to mean that new construction projects cannot be realised. By working with Joulz to design and develop a building with little or no dependence on the public grid, we have delivered a highly future-proof property.”

Energy cooperative

The new distribution centre has over 20,000 solar panels. This is enough to produce some 7.6 gigawatt hours annually, equivalent to the consumption of about 3,000 average households. Some of that power will be stored in the building’s two container batteries. Joulz expects to connect the electricity supply in June. As well as generating its own electricity, the building is connected to the recently established Energy Cooperative Schiphol Trade Park. Within this collective, companies at Schiphol Trade Park share their unused power capacity with each other via a virtual grid, a form of cooperation that is unique in Europe.

The grid congestion problem at Schiphol Trade Park meant that not all 15 companies that wanted to establish premises there were able to secure an electricity supply. The four companies that were the first to obtain planning permission were still able to apply for a connection from grid operator Liander. The fifteen companies in the energy cooperative will now share the available grid capacity. Thanks to a combination of companies generating their own energy and the sharing of power supply, the collective only needs four grid connections. The combination of own generation capacity and mutual cooperation ensures security of electricity supply.

Example for the future

Power for the new distribution centre is assured due to multiple layers of supply security. The building can operate completely off-grid, and a smart energy management system ensures that the best choice is made about where the power is taken from (solar roof, battery, collective or generators) and what the power is used for. Joulz director Jan Verheij says: “This project is currently unique in the Netherlands. It is a great combination of proven technology, with new innovative solutions and intensive cooperation. The solutions devised here are an example for the future, which is all about optimising the energy balance, the balance between use and production – and doing so seamlessly so that the user doesn’t notice. This can be achieved for any project or location, individually, but also in collaboration with the surroundings. And that is exactly what we have been able to develop here with Intospace for the first time.”

Source: press release Intospace/Joulz