Throughout the Netherlands, the number of requests for new connections to the electricity grid is growing, particularly for solar and wind production. The electricity grid was not originally designed for this development and needs to be adjusted accordingly. In many places, the growth of sustainable production is faster than the networks can be expanded. Expansion of networks is time-consuming due to long procedures. Moreover, there is only a limited number of technicians to do all the work. When this leads to possible structural bottlenecks in the electricity network, the grid manager initiates a study of the possibilities of congestion management on the basis of legislation and regulations. This is a market-based method of preventing overloading of the electricity grid.
Growing number of connections
In Brabant and Limburg, too, there is a lot of interest from new customers who want to feed into the electricity grid. This strongly growing demand exceeds the available transmission capacity at a number of high-voltage substations in both provinces. TenneT is therefore starting, based on the Grid Code Electricity, studies on the possibilities of congestion management in both provinces. These studies will examine, among other things, whether there are sufficient participants to apply this market mechanism and whether the grids are equipped for it.
The notifications, which were announced today, indicate which regions will be investigated in more detail. The investigations are expected to take several months and should show whether there is room for new parties to connect to the grid. The investigations will not affect applicants who already have a signed offer from the grid operator to which they will be connected.
Investments in the grids
Meanwhile, various measures are being taken to increase capacity. First of all, investments in modifying and expanding the networks are in full swing. In both provinces work is being done to strengthen and expand high-voltage connections, including the construction of new switching stations and new connections. Existing switching stations will also be expanded and adapted in the coming years.
Modifications to dispose of sustainable electricity
Secondly, TenneT will modify the structure of the grids in the years ahead in order to be able to accommodate more sustainable production. At present, grids are strongly interconnected and work like communicating vessels. By dividing the grids into smaller sub-grids, the electricity can be better fed into the 380kV grid, the highway of the electricity network. This solution, which involves technical modifications at various switching stations, should provide extra space on the grid in the coming years.
Smarter use of existing grid
Finally, smart solutions to make better use of the existing grid are also being examined. In addition to research into the application of congestion management, TenneT may also make use of redispatch. If the supply of electricity in the region is too high, TenneT may decide to generate less electricity in the area. Market parties are then asked to produce more electricity in another area, so that national demand and supply remain in balance. Curtailment and peak shaving are other ways to create more space in the grid. In the case of curtailment, solar parks are temporarily disconnected if the supply of sustainable electricity exceeds demand. In the case of peak shaving, solar parks are not connected to the maximum peak capacity.