NLWorks accelerates Living Lab Curaçao and brings consortium together

April 19, 2021
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Curacao could become one of the first islands with a fully sustainable, self-sufficient economy. With affordable clean energy, clean mobility, state of the art education, attractive jobs and a clean-living environment. For the people of Curacao, for the economy and for the environment.
14 Public and private parties are joining forces in a consortium to make this happen. What is the ambition of the consortium? Which parties need to be involved? And where to start? We interviewed a key partner in the consortium: René van der Plas – Director Port of Rotterdam International.

NLWorks recently joined the Living Lab Curaçao program. We were asked to help companies, knowledge institutes and public organizations from Curacao and the Netherlands to develop a joint vision & ambition, an integral solution, and a first high-level masterplan. The Living Lab Curaçao is the first step in this joint transition to a sustainable economy. With it, public and private organizations search for sustainable innovative solutions such as sustainable energy, mobility, waste, and environmental solutions. Curaçao has an abundance of sun and wind, an open economy, and a closed energy circuit. Curaçao also has a strong need for lower costs for the import of oil, a new (energy) sector for economic growth, volume for the port, export, employment, knowledge development and reliable & affordable energy, drinking water and public transport. Combined with a sustainable, clean environment for residents and tourism. The Port of Rotterdam is key partner in this public-private consortium to make Curacao more sustainable.

Why is the Port of Rotterdam participating in the Living Lab program? “The ambitions of the Living Lab program are high, which can only be achieved by working together, but especially by developing business models that are profitable. We have been talking with Curaçao Port Authority (CPA) for a long time to establish a strategic partnership. Curaçao is part of the Dutch Kingdom and we would like to help CPA to further develop the port. In addition, Curaçao faces challenges that are very similar to those of Rotterdam. The ports of both Curaçao and Rotterdam are highly dependent on refineries. But in the coming decades, there will be a route transition. The way in which this transition can take place is central to the Living Lab Curaçao program. From Rotterdam we are keen to contribute to this.”

Why was NLWorks called in? “This type of major transition is too big to tackle alone and can only be achieved if public and private parties work together. The most important question with this kind of major tasks is: Who pays the bill? It is therefore of great importance that public and private parties are aligned. There must be a symbiosis. A private party can only invest if the conditions on the public side are in place, and vice versa, the public parties can only create those conditions if there are private developments. This has to come about almost simultaneously, otherwise it will not work.”

“NLWorks plays a big role in this. NLWorks is the independent party that brings the whole consortium together for one ambition.” This joint ambition is laid down in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) under the leadership of NLWorks. This is the entry point from which various projects are initiated. “The great thing about Living Lab is that this great ambition and transition is developed further in small steps; They are all small independent steps, working towards the bigger goal.”

MOU has been signed. What are your next steps? “It is very special that the MOU has come about in a relatively short time. This would not have been possible without the help of NLWorks. Every party has embraced the ambition. Now the real cooperation must begin. The intention is for Curaçao to lead the way in the field of sustainability. This must also be embraced by the largest stakeholder of this program, the people of Curaçao.” The next steps in the program are now being examined.
Port of Rotterdam The port of Rotterdam is the largest seaport in Europe. The port owes its leading position to its excellent accessibility by sea and its intermodal connections. On the international maritime stage, the Port of Rotterdam Authority is acting to achieve greater financial return from international activities and to learn from international ‘best practices’. They are pioneers in digitalization and the transition to sustainable energy.
NLWorks NLWorks accelerates the creation of international networks between entrepreneurs and governments with the aim of building joint business propositions. We match the ambitions and needs of Dutch and foreign entrepreneurs with those of governments. NLWorks helps transform these into impact programs with a solid business case, benefiting both individual public and private goals; but more importantly, creating a societal impact for all.