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Towards energy self-sufficient sand and gravel extraction (Netherlands)

  • Health and safety
  • Land-use planning
  • Permitting processes / policy integration
  • Reporting official statistics
  • Socio-economic and environmental impact assessments

Challenge the practice is addressing: The biggest impact that the extraction of sand and gravel has on the environment, is the use of electricity. That is why, in 2020, Netterden has had a floating solar installation installed. With this initiative, sand and gravel extraction has for an important part become energy self-sufficient.

Concrete practice to achieve the expected goal: The basis of the floating solar island is formed by pontoons that are interconnected. The solar panels are placed on the pontoons. Electricity is generated by means of solar panels on the island. As the panels are cooled by the water on which they float, the efficiency of floating panels is higher than of those located on land. This generated power is used to drive the sand extraction, mainly for the sand and gravel grading installation and electric suction dredger. The floating solar installation is located directly south of the production site, optimally facing the sun. The short distance between energy production and energy demand accounts for an efficient and relatively simple transportation of the energy. The floating island is 90 meters wide, 120 meters long and carries 3140 solar panels that together deliver 1,2 megawatt per year. The energy that is produced is transported to shore using a floating power cable. On shore, the power is received in a distribution station, from which the power supply is routed to the installations on the production site. With the objective in mind of making her extraction site even more sustainable, Netterden intends to expand her floating solar park by another 4.9 hectares. The second solar park will will be equiped with three state-of-the-art batteries, that are each able to store up to 1MWp.

Expected impact/goal of the practice: In the midst of an energy transition, Netterden is taking the responsibility to become its own supplier of green energy. The pilot project 'Floating Solar I' has been a great succes, with no significant impact on the biodiversity in and around the extraction boundaries. Floating solar therefore has proven to be of great value in Netterden's road to energy self-sufficiency by 2025. The power generation by the second installation (referred to as 'Floating Solar II') exceeds the energy demand of Netterden's production processes. However, part of the energy will be generated outside production hours. Through the usage of batteries for Floating Solar II, the combined solar-battery installation will reach a concurrency of 91%. This implies that the installation is able to supply the processing installation and the suction dredger at 91% of their working hours.

Who is the target user group of the practice/intervention or implementing the practice/intervention? This practice is for companies in the extractive industries.

UEPG Sustainable Development Award Nominee / Netterden
Data item type
Practice base
Practice type
Repository, resource libraries & toolkits
Learning relevance
Case study
Unspecified (universally applicable)
Construction minerals (aggregates)
Extractive life-cycle
Exploitation phase
Sustainability scope
Efficient energy consumption
Carbon neutrality
System change potential
become its own supplier of green energy