Walking around Amsterdam, at times, feels like strolling through the city of the future. Solar panels abound. Electric vehicles fill the roads, and everybody else is on a bike. Meanwhile, tucked away in the western part of town, some 50 families have agreed to turn their houses into living laboratories to figure out a better way to share energy.
The first episode of Gizmodo’s new series “From the Lab” takes a close look at the Virtual Power Plant project in Amsterdam. With the help of participant Tom van Arman as well as interviews with participating energy partners like Sym Power and Alliander, we found out how one experiment in Amsterdam could provide a global model for turning our power grids into microgrids that are both more efficient and self-sustaining. Tom’s house is no ordinary lab, and the Virtual Power Plant initiative is hardly a run-of-the-mill experiment. That’s why the project could be so transformative.