November 13, 2020 | Deanne Stikkelorum

Residents of The Hague are Co-creating a City on Clean Energy

Neighborhoods driving change

Get inspired by the residents of The Hague! In order to accelerate the energy transition, we were asked to help organise the  ‘Energie uit de Wijk’ challenge 2021 for the municipality of The Hague. There are many neighbourhoods in the city where residents are making plans to make the shift to clean energy in their homes. Nevertheless, some of these initiatives get stuck in the planning phase and never become reality. The municipality aims to help these citizens overcome barriers and actually implement measures and make the transition from fossil energy sources to clean energy. 


“Generating energy in a clean way and saving energy at the same time, that is the heart of the matter.” - Jury chairwoman Helga van Leur, climate ambassador and meteorologist


The ‘Energie uit de Wijk’ Challenge approach

The concept of the Challenge comes down to this: each year, groups of citizens from The Hague get the opportunity to team up and submit their plans for the transition to clean energy in their neighbourhood. A selection of these plans will win the support of experts that guide them in making decisions (technical, financial and process management) throughout the year. In the first edition in 2019, 11 initiatives had been selected. From July until October this year, groups could again apply. Plans got posted online and other citizens could supply the groups with feedback on how to make their plans even better. Last month, 7 teams were announced to have made it through the selection and got the chance to present their plans in front of the independent jury during an online event, which Outside Inc. Innovation Manager Alwin Veldboom co-hosted with none other than Helga van Leur.  

Energy storage battery in Houtwijk

One of the initiatives is called ‘Houtwijk in Transitie’. Houses in this neighbourhood were predominantly built in the 1980s, in accordance with the insulation standards of that time. Payback periods run up to 30 to 40 years. As a result, there is little financial incentive for the houses to be transformed. Nevertheless, the initiators from Houtwijk want to prove that for these houses a sustainable transformation is still a smart decision, technically, financially and above all socially. The residents developed a collective approach and plan to save energy using a battery storage system. As icing on the cake, they plan to use this saved energy for charging a car-sharing system.


Bringing plans into practice

This is just one of the initiatives presented to the jury. Luckily, all seven teams got selected and got a (covid-proof) personal visit and received a cheque with a subsidy of up to €75,000. For the next couple of months, we’ll be guiding the teams together with the municipality of The Hague towards realizing their plans. The aim is to have the results within the upcoming 12 months. Making the transition to clean energy in the Hague, step by step. 

Follow the progress of the teams at