A tale of sparks and elbow grease…

As you might understand, the team as we know it now is a result of meticulous planning, blood, sweat, tears and most of all: a good portion of being on the right place, at the right time. Let me take you back to early april 2017.

Municipality of Breda had some minor succes with making events more sustainable. Especially in organizing workshops and bringing parties together, we managed to create a proper base for organizers to reach out for help. During the spring of 2017, an event organizer was planning a food related event; as a restaurant with high standards, an event on a parking garages’ rooftop was planned where people would find culinary treats, for ten days in a row with entertainment in the background. Unfortunately, no power outlet was available that could deliver enough power to get the furnace going. A diesel fueled generator was needed on the rooftop for the necessary power. Needless to say, visitors were not pleased about the exhaust fumes and noise of the machine. Organizer asked the municipality for a solution. At that point, Breda couldn’t deliver a custom made solution, but the seed was planted… The relation between a parking garage, charging points for electric vehicles and off course the visionary thought of having a car as a portable energy supplier was easily made and ideas went -literally- through the rooftop.

It was only in september that the planted seed reached full growth potential, when municipality heard about a new type of subsidy that could accelerate the idea to a proper project. Meetings were organized with local car dealers, a consultant in energy solutions (SBPF), and one of the largest battery suppliers in Europe. It turned out that the idea definitely had potential, aiming for specific type of events that had no sustainable solution yet are responsible for about 75% of total diesel being used. The idea was nearly adopted by a larger municipality in Holland, but with an intention already guaranteed by municipality of Breda, we could focus on content in stead of competition and follow through. In the following monts, the project was developed further and new stakeholders were consulted. Topics like Air Quality came into sight during that period as well, with the local Health Service (GGD) as frontrunner of the news.

Also, we realized that this project would only be successful if we could incorporate participation in some way. Breda has a rich history in community building, enabling inhabitants and local entrepreneurs to start initiatives. It was in 2017 that Vice President Sefcovic visited Breda for the Energy Union Tour: he took great pride in the way Breda organized local initiatives: “Both Breda and Rotterdam are positive examples for other cities across the whole continent” . This community building has been the backbone of our project as well. We spoke with founders of Zonnewijde, and are happy to have on board one of the former board members of this corporation, now representing ‘Buurauto’.

Finally, somewhere around november 2017, the outlines of the project were clear. With specialty knowledge on every discipline, it was time to give shape to the idea as a project that could fill in the total supply chain. Event organizers Kairos and Breda Barst were happy to contribute, as well as local university Avans in several different fields of education. With the help of a consulting agency specialized in UIA applications, a process with high quality was guaranteed. From december on, several tech companies were added to supply with the necessary skills (Faraday, I-Homer, Eaton). Also, it turned out important to have a basic fleet of EV available to start the project with. Nissan automotive (Van de Borne) Breda, Waste Service and Department of Maintenance from Municipality of Breda agreed upon participating in the project through enabling use of the fleet available during the project.

During the coming months, the consortium of partners will be field testing in a low budget context. Small events will see the technology in play, without assessing full potential and determining reduction in nuisance and air pollution. It is only after contribution from UIA, that the project will make true momentum with proper deliverables.