Flexible attitude, creativity and teamwork at the heart of Alkmaar’s strategy

Alkmaar Van der Woudestraat, Bloemwijk district
Alkmaar Van der Woudestraat, Bloemwijk district

02 Nov 2020 — Alkmaar's site manager Martijn de Vries retraces the first year of the Dutch town in the role of Lighthouse city of POCITYF

Time flies … also in Alkmaar: already a year has passed in the POCITYF project, time to look back briefly. 

The first year was all about starting up, getting to know the international and national partners and setting up the project (management) team. Just as important was getting and providing insight to the partners in the work structures with, for example, Energy Transition Tracks, Work Packages, Integrated Solutions. It is not difficult to get lost in the complexity of a Horizon2020 project every now and then …

In Alkmaar we focused in the first months mainly on the preparations for the demonstrations of the innovation components at the locations De Meent, Woonwaard Highrise, Bloemwijk and GasFreeWorks. It is fascinating to see and experience that each location entails its own dynamics and issues in terms of planning, technical preconditions, citizen involvement and procedures to be followed. What was also striking is that new insights at some demonstration locations already had to adjust the plans. An example of this is the planned construction of the heat network to Woonwaard Highrise and Bloemwijk, which turns out not to be feasible for technical and financial reasons, but an apartment complex on Dillenburgstraat has been found in its place. It shows that with a flexible attitude, creativity and teamwork, we succeed in continuing to fulfill the project goals of POCITYF.

The COVID-19 situation has also led to adjustments in the working method and project implementation in Alkmaar. Due to a reduced commitment by many of the partners and forced working from home, some planned activities have been delayed. Nevertheless, progress has been and is also being made: the demonstration location Bloemwijk has been put out to tender, the preparations for the installation of a solar / wind energy generation installation at Woonwaard Highrise are in full swing and the De Meent sports complex is already working on the realization of a covered parking space with solar panels. Talking about De Meent, did you know that the ice rink at De Meent has been used as a drive-in COVID19 test street for several months? The sports complex is therefore important for Alkmaar in several respects from a social point of view.

 And so we are already entering the second year of the project. In the coming year we will still be busy with the preparations and realization of the demonstration locations. But we will also work with our partners in Alkmaar and beyond with data collection and energy monitoring, develop concepts around citizen involvement, share experiences regarding sustainability and energy positivity with other cities in the Netherlands and Europe. In short, for next year the plate is already well filled (as we say in Dutch). We’re looking forward to it!