Self-illuminating bicycle path powered by solar and wind energy

App allows cyclists to adjust light intensity

The Amsterdam port area’s latest addition is a bicycle path lit by a highly innovative system that runs on solar energy and wind energy generated on-site. The self-supporting, autonomous system is unique in the world, and the pilot project is to be gradually expanded until the entire port area is lit by this sustainable, safe and user-friendly system.

The total of 42 streetlights which have been installed as part of the project no longer rely on electricity from the regular (AC) grid for their dynamic, dimmable LED lamps. Instead, the sustainable energy is sourced fully from nearby floating solar panels and a miniature wind turbine. These panels charge a battery, with the direct-current DC grid then supplying the energy needed for the streetlights. This is energy-efficient, as there is no need for direct current (DC) to be converted into alternating current (AC) and vice versa.


Unique system in the world
The system, which was developed by Port of Amsterdam and Dutch sustainable energy company Eneco, will pay off in the long run, not in the least because there are no other energy costs involved. Since the energy is both generated and used locally, there is no need to install pipes and cables from the main power grid to the public area to be illuminated. We have also eliminated the need for converters, and DC cables are thinner than AC cables – all of which saves money on raw materials and investments. Amsterdam is the first city in the world to implement this type of self-supporting system, which is powered by the high-voltage DC grid and therefore does not rely on the public AC grid.


Koen Overtoom, Chief Operations Office at Port of Amsterdam: “With Amsterdam having established itself as a major energy port, Port of Amsterdam aims to play a role in facilitating the transition to clean sources of energy, a plan which includes attracting sustainable energy streams, generating clean energy in the port area and using energy-efficient methods in the area’s layout and design. This project is Port of Amsterdam’s way of contributing to the transition to sustainable innovation and energy, and in doing so, it serves as a leader and pioneer for other companies in the area. That is something we are very proud of.”


Bram Poeth, Business Market Director at Eneco: ‘We are seeing a growing need for this type of combination of sustainable energy and smart technology. We have integrated several innovative technologies for this project, so as to ensure that this bicycle path is not only self-supporting, but that cyclists actually get to control it as well. This is all very much part of our long-term plan to supply sustainable, locally generated energy that the customer can control. At the same time, the project also gives us the opportunity to explore how we might be able to implement this system on a larger scale in the future.’


App to adjust light intensity
Starting this spring, cyclists will be able to adjust the intensity of the dimmable LED lighting along the bicycle path themselves, depending on the time of year and the weather conditions. This increases people’s sense of safety and prevents energy from being wasted.

Like the Windlab, which opened in May 2015, this pilot project was created as part of the strategic partnership between Port of Amsterdam and Eneco. The Windlab is an educational resource where children learn about wind energy, visiting a windmill as part of the classes they attend. Around 2000 schoolchildren have visited the Windlab to date.


About Port of Amsterdam
Port of Amsterdam is Western Europe’s fourth largest port and plays a large role in the transhipment and processing of energy products. The North Sea Canal Area transhipped approximately 97 million tonnes of goods in 2015, with Port of Amsterdam accounting for approximately 78.4 million tonnes of this amount. A total of 68,000 people work in the port region either at companies in the port or at port-related companies. Approximately 34,000 of these people work in Amsterdam.
Havenbedrijf Amsterdam NV is committed to being a smart port and to adding value for customers and the environment in a sustainable and innovative manner. It seeks to promote growth at companies, while still taking a careful approach to the available space and the quality of water, soil and air. Port of Amsterdam aims to achieve this through intensive cooperation with partners in the business community (national and international), city and region. For more information, please visit external link. Our apps can be downloaded here: link, for Android, the IOS app can be found here:


The Windows app can be downloaded here: