Energie, van wie?

Whose energy is it, anyway? Photo: Aad Hoogendoorn
    • from November 20 to December 20, 2020
    • Keilezaal in het Keilepand
    • Keilestraat Rotterdam

The exhibition ‘Whose Energy Is It, Anyway?’ focuses on the energy transition at the district level. It is at this level that pressing issues converge and the interests of large and small players – governments, companies, sociocivic initiatives, housing associations, owners’ associations, and residents – meet. In the Netherlands, about 5,000 districts have to stop using natural gas. Bospolder-Tussendijken is one of the five Rotterdam districts that will be the first to make this radical transition. As one of the poorest districts in the Netherlands, it is not only vulnerable but also resilient: culturally diverse, articulate, and confident. Bospolder-Tussendijken is an interesting testing ground for finding out how the energy transition can bring about a widespread, sustainable change.

The exhibition ‘Whose Energy Is It, Anyway?’ was part of IABR 2020: Down to Earth. The exhibition presented the Local Energy Action Plan for the Bospolder-Tussendijken district. Also on display was an exploration for the energy transition in the East Flanders municipality of Eeklo, a project of the IABR–Atelier East Flanders Core Region.

    • Credits
Photo: Aad Hoogendoorn
Photo: Aad Hoogendoorn

Gas-Free Districts for a Post-Fossil World

Around 5,000 districts in the Netherlands have to stop using natural gas. Initial experience shows that this is not an easy thing to do. There are problems with implementation and, above all, with financing and social resources. At the same time, this operation is part of a much larger challenge: the global transition to sustainable energy, which is not only politically and environmentally urgent, but also unimaginably far-reaching. Everything we do, individually and collectively – from living to working, from learning to leisure – is largely determined by access to and use of energy. The energy transition is not only a technical and financial challenge, but also a sociocivic and cultural one. The choices that are and will be made affect us all. The energy transition is the elephant in the room of politics. There can be no energy transition without a broad social debate about the ownership of this transition.

The transition to sustainable energy lends itself perfectly to new forms of shared ownership: the sun, wind, and (soon) hydrogen belong to everyone. The energy transition offers opportunities for a much broader change. This requires new collaborations, new roles, at all scale levels. The district is the level at which these new collaborations can best take shape. It is here that the idea of a new energy commons can be explored, an arena where citizens can play their part alongside governments and businesses.  

Local Energy Action Plan – Atelier Rotterdam

Building on a technical study by PosadMaxwan & Generation.Energy and an anthropological study on social cohesion in the district, Atelier Rotterdam, led by Eva Pfannes (OOZE), explored how the energy transition in the Bospolder-Tussendijken district could also bring wider social benefits. The Local Energy Action Plan outlines a step-by-step process leading to a more self-sufficient and resilient neighborhood.

Photo: Aad Hoogendoorn
Photo: Aad Hoogendoorn

Atelier East Flanders Core Region

‘Whose Energy Is It, Anyway?’ also showcases the IABR–Atelier East Flanders Core Region, which the IABR set up with the Province of East Flanders in 2017, more specifically its Demonstration Project Eeklo, an exploration in this East Flanders municipality of how the already built environment can be redesigned, so to speak, by taking advantage of the opportunities offered by the inevitable energy transition.