Infra designs, builds, renovates and maintains public spaces and infrastructure in the Netherlands. This involves infrastructure above and below ground, including the associated technical installations and energy facilities. This covers roads, hydraulic engineering works, viaducts, tunnels and bridges. The focus of this business area is increasingly shifting from new-build to asset management: optimal management and maintenance with timely replacement or renovation.
In the coming years, Scaldis - a working combination of Heijmans and electrical engineering company Istimewa - will carry out major maintenance work on the Ghent-Terneuzen canal. Optimally operating locks and bridges are essential for a shipping route of enormous economic and logistical importance for both Zeeland and Flanders. Scaldis will convert the controls for these structures to remote central control and install new monitoring and safety systems, which will also change the maintenance on the structures. This is why Scaldis has teamed up with the Dutch Ministry of Public Works and Waterways (Rijkswaterstaat) to develop a suitable maintenance regime. This will enable Scaldis to use its knowledge, expertise and a comprehensive risk analysis to accurately determine where and when maintenance is required.
The Netherlands is facing a major energy transition and this is accelerating the demand for the reinforcement of electricity grids and the construction of heat networks. Infra is also increasingly focusing on energy infrastructure. From design to construction and maintenance, from area integration to environmental management. With the acquisition of Dynniq Energy in mid-2022, Heijmans strengthened its position as an integrated player in the market for the construction and maintenance of energy infrastructure.
Infra is also increasingly active in the technical work required to make infrastructure and public spaces safer and more usable. This involves technical systems and installations, such as camera and various reference, lighting and control systems that are designed, built and maintained by Infra itself.
Given the various working disciplines within Infra, we can approach and execute infrastructure projects integrally. This is how we realise the smart combination of design, realisation and management & maintenance. Infra makes use of the knowledge and skills of in-house specialists and departments, such as: engineering services, asset management, tensioning and displacement techniques and drilling techniques, foundation techniques, road and soil specialists. Data-driven solutions, digital slimming and services also play an increasingly prominent role in Infra's overall business portfolio.
Heijmans founded Heijmans Energy in 2020, with the ambition to design, build and operate sustainable, decentralised, integrated energy systems. In just a short time, this initiative has developed into a growing business activity focused on both thermal energy storage and solar energy systems, as well as networks and infrastructure in existing and new buildings. Heijmans approaches every single issue with the end users in mind. By using smart solutions to fit these energy systems into our built environment, we make energy more sustainable and keep it both affordable and reliable. While energy used to be a closing item, it is now an integral part of the design of an area. Heijmans Energy’s first project, Kade Zuid in Zutphen, was delivered at the end of 2022, marking the start of the 30-year operational period, providing residents with both heating and cooling. In addition to Kade Zuid, Heijmans Energy currently has thirteen projects under construction, some of which the business unit will also operate. This shows how we are having a demonstrable impact in the field of energy and how we are also fulfilling our ambition of long-term commitment to our end users.
Last year's rising prices and declining availability of energy put these developments even more clearly on the map. Based on our vision, we look very keenly at the sustainability component, but also at the extent to which we can become self-sufficient and so more independent of cyclical developments in the energy sector. For Heijmans, it is always about achieving a balance between sustainability, feasibility and affordability.
Electrification and grid connection problems are on the rise. Our ambition is to eventually develop self-sufficient neighbourhoods, where sustainable energy generation is included in the design of a neighbourhood or area. This will require smart solutions that facilitate communications between solar panels, charging stations and heat pumps. In the coming years, we want to make significant progress on this front. In one of our offices in Rosmalen, the Hive, we are building a smart grid as a pilot to gain experience and know-how in this field.
Future-proof power grid
The use of our energy network is changing rapidly. On the one hand, the demand for electricity is increasing enormously, as consumers and businesses switch from natural gas to electricity and more and more people are driving electric cars. On the other hand, there are an increasing number of sustainable generation facilities, such as solar panels and wind farms. These too need to be connected to the grid. But at the same time, we need to strengthen the current power grid to prevent overloading. Heijmans’ cable and pipeline specialists are busy doing this all over the country, including in the Frisian town of Hallum. The existing 10 kV electricity cable in Hallum cannot cope with the increased demand for power. This is why Liander has commissioned Heijmans to work on a significant expansion of the capacity of the local network, adding over 200 kilometres of 20 kV cables. This is a complex job that requires good preparation and a lot of coordination. But once the work is completed, we will have a future-proof power grid.