Date: Wednesday, November 1st 2017
Time: 15:00 – 16:30 h
Location: Energy Academy – Zernike Campus (Nijenborgh 6)

Our nation’s electric power infrastructure that has served us so well for so long is rapidly running up against its limitations. The Dutch electricity network will undergo a major overhaul in the upcoming years. Smart grids can provide the solution. This evolved grid system manages electricity demand in a sustainable, reliable and economic manner, built on advanced infrastructure and tuned to facilitate the full integration of different system elements. But what are the developments on smart grids so far and what does the future look like? What are the roles of the various stakeholders in Europe?

The energy sector has experienced significant changes in the decennia around the turn of the century. Technology developments brought about decentral electricity generation by solar PV, micro-CHP, micro wind, increasingly accompanied by local, mostly battery based storage. In addition, transportation by electric cars is rapidly gaining momentum, largely driven by economic and environmental considerations, the latter expressed in targeted CO2 emissions. The result: the energy transition.

Environmental considerations (the Paris agreement of 2015) did further enforce the energy transition that can be characterised by the three D’s: decarbonisation, decentralisation and digitisation. This in turn did lead to new demands on the distribution networks: the need arose for smart grids, primarily for the electricity grids but also for the looming heat grids and green gas grids. This lecture will address above developments, the required grid intelligence, the outlook of smart grids and the impact on both network governance and end users.


Theo Fens is an experienced professional with a broad industrial background. His working experience encompasses more than 40 years in the industry (process control, telecom, oil and gas engineering), consultancy (energy markets and IT), and research (physics and economy). Since 2003 Theo has filled a position as Senior Research Fellow at the Technical University of Delft (TUD). His educational background is electrical engineering and he holds a PhD in experimental physics.

Theo´s recent experience in the energy sector encompasses assignments for major energy and network companies such as Alliander, Enexis, Stedin, Essent, Nuon, Delta, next to energy related assignments for the Dutch Railways and WeCycle.

Theo is owner/employee of an independent consultancy TFECo B.V. (1-5-2005 to date), that covers the entire energy value chain. Activities encompass the development of energy concepts and their implementation, designing and guiding experiments with new energy technology (including business case evaluation), expert advice on institutional arrangements, economic assessment of energy projects, support in the design and arrangement of energy related business and information architectures.

In addition, Theo is an associate partner at Deloitte B.V (energy transition), at Driven by Values (circular and biobased economy), at Global Gas Netherlands Initiative (cluster of energy specialists) and at ENSION BV (energy engineering). Furthermore, Theo is a core lecturer at the Energy Delta Institute.

It is defined as an Energy Learning Activity for students of the Hanze UAS and the University of Groningen. Students are invited to attend as many Energy Learning Activities as they want, at all stages of their education.
Energy Learning Activities are part of the Energy Academy Europe Certificate. If students follow 10 Energy Learning Activities and also complete 30 ECTS in energy courses at Hanze UAS or the University of Groningen, they are eligible for obtaining the EAE Certificate.