‘Sweet spot’ producing peppers sustainably possible through Alfen’s partnership with Hoogweg Paprikakwekerijen
A long-standing relationship between Hoogweg Paprikakwekerijen’s growing company and Alfen stands as an example of how quality vegetables like sweet peppers can be produced and distributed at large scale by tapping into sustainable sources of power. Alfen has not only delivered substation and associated technologies to multiple Hoogweg locations, but also supports their ongoing operations with services to help ensure the greenhouses can operate reliably to produce around 50 million kg. of sweet peppers each year.
Since 1987, the Hoogweg Paprikakwekerijen growing company has provided fresh, high-quality produce to communities across the Netherlands and neighboring European countries. As their operations expanded to 5 locations specialising in growing sweet peppers, Hoogweg has needed technologies to help them to distribute the electricity consumed and produced by several types of sustainable sources, including geothermal heat, CHP and solar energy across their 160 hectares of modern greenhouse facilities - the equivalent of 320 football fields - in an efficient way.
Since 2008, Alfen has delivered multiple high-voltage substation technologies across Hoogweg’s locations, including the Diabolo compact and concrete solutions to deliver power to its network of greenhouses. Among the supporting technologies Alfen has installed are Sicuro generator terminal boxes, which ensure a reliable connection to the generator and, in turn, reliable delivery of power. This solution also helps customers like Hoogweg operate their power network at lower costs, as the terminal boxes are maintenance-free, and come with a guaranteed lifespan of at least 50,000 switches… approximately 10 times more than traditional circuitry.
Alfen also manages the medium voltage network across Hoogweg’s 5 greenhouse locations.
“Our partnership with Hoogweg highlights how our solutions can be applied to different types of business models, as well as support various kinds of sustainable power sources simultaneously,” said Rick Keune, a project manager in Alfen’s Smart Grid Solutions business. “Their extensive operations also illustrates how we can support customers in integrating sustainable power across our own technologies, as well as solutions delivered by other providers.”
Benefits and implementation
Alfen’s package includes a new e-boiler that has the capacity of 29MW of power, which is now operational. Hoogweg will use this technology primarily to help balance their local grid, or when needed contract the capacity to TenneT to help balance other areas of the Dutch grid.
With the support of Alfen’s sustainable power solutions, Hoogweg today grows approximately 3.6 million pepper plants each year, all leveraging greenhouse horticulture technology. The team also taps into their power network for electricity supporting other aspects of their growing operations, including sorting, packaging and quality controls activities.
“While producing quality sweet peppers for our customers is a priority, we’re equally committed to running our business sustainably,” said Erik Hoogweg, energy manager at Hoogweg Paprikakwekerijen. “We work with multiple partners that provide sustainable operating technologies, and Alfen plays an important role in connecting these technologies together in efficient and reliably ways.”