The number of requests for new connections to the electricity grid is increasing throughout the Netherlands, particularly for solar and wind production. In many places, this growth is faster than the grids can be expanded. If this results in structural bottlenecks in the electricity network, the grid operator starts investigating the possibilities of congestion management on the basis of legislation and regulations. Congestion management is a method based on market mechanisms to prevent overloading of the electricity network.
Congestion management possible from 2022
In Zeeland, too, there is a great deal of interest in new connections, and demand exceeds the available transmission capacity. Last summer, TenneT therefore initiated extensive research into the possibilities of applying congestion management. Several years (including the growth of generators using sun and wind) have been calculated and the resulting bottlenecks in the grids have been identified.
The study shows that the congestion management system cannot yet be applied before 2021. An important precondition is that this market mechanism can be applied with sufficient participants in a clearly defined area. The current structure of the Zeeland electricity grid is 'meshed', meaning that many areas are interconnected. As a result, congestion management cannot be implemented effectively. TenneT is making a number of technical modifications so that the system can be deployed from 2022 onwards.
Bottlenecks tackled in 2021 with regular solution
In order to still have room for sustainable development in the region in the coming year, TenneT is solving any bottlenecks with its regular solution called 'redispatch'. In the event of an oversupply of electricity for the grid in the region, redispatch means that less electricity will be generated in the area. In another area, market parties are then asked to produce more electricity so that the national supply and demand remain in balance. TenneT already applies this system frequently in the context of security of supply.
Investments to structurally increase capacity
Meanwhile, TenneT is investing heavily to increase its capacity. The new 380-kilovolt electricity highway between Borssele and Rilland is expected to be in operation by 2023. In addition, various measures are being taken to increase the capacity of the current grids in the short term. TenneT is already applying Dynamic Line Rating, a smart system that allows more electricity to be transmitted through the grid depending on the weather. Technical modifications are also being made to the high-voltage substations in Borssele and Rilland, including the installation of several transformers.
The measures and adjustments will ensure that the capacity of Zeeland's high-voltage grid remains adequate for existing and new initiatives currently known to TenneT. The plans submitted by regional grid operator Enduris have been included in the calculations.