Siemens, one of the companies involved in the project, said that the project is intended to "stimulate the local economy and smooth the way for innovations and new business possibilities." In practical terms, this means that use of new technologies, such as energy storage systems, is expected to receive a boost. At the same time, the project also serves as a "smart grid pilot". From the article: After successful completion of the test phase, the project partners are planning to extend the smart grid to other districts and later to outside Rotterdam, with one million additional connections.
The Dutch government plans to roll out 6 million smart meters latest by 2020 to comply with EU regulations. Back in 2007, the government had announced a similar initiative to have smart meters in all homes by 2013. But privacy concerns and public resistance led to the program becoming optional. This time around, however, there has been little resistance. According to official statistics, the refusal rate to installation of smart meters is just 3%.