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Flexible solutions for the power grid: customisation in Flevopolder, Gelderland and Utrecht

Reading time
4 Minutes

Last updated
2/1/2024

Congestion

TenneT and the regional grid operators see the great importance of entrepreneurs working together or individually on smart flexible solutions to use the power grid more efficiently, thus making the best use of scarce space. This applies to Flevoland, Gelderland and Utrecht (FGU) as well as other parts of the Netherlands. In this respect, energy hubs are an important part of the future energy system. Where possible, grid operators support these initiatives with expertise and grid modifications. Recent insights underline the great importance of shaping this together. However, this is not yet successful everywhere. In practice, this means that energy hubs in FGU have to be tailor-made for the time being and, depending on the region-specific situation, will require additional flex measures or an adapted elaboration in order not to increase the total consumption of electricity. A condition for connecting energy hubs is that they do not overload both the regional and the high-voltage grid.

In October 2023, TenneT published the results of the congestion study for usage of electricity in FGU. The grid situation in these provinces is critical, which also prompted the October 18 parliamentary letter with unorthodox measures. In this region, the high-voltage grid has reached its maximum capacity. There is a waiting list for large consumers who want a new connection or more capacity. A shortage of capacity is also expected for the expected growth in small-scale consumption, with the physical limits of the high-voltage grid already in sight in 2026 while grid expansions are still pending until 2029.

New insights
The recent load analysis of the different levels of the electricity grid shows that the load profiles of the regional and high-voltage grids do not always match. Unlike on the regional grid operators' grids, TenneT also sees peak loads on the high-voltage grids at other times outside the morning and evening peak periods. These peaks are difficult to predict. This is due, for instance, to the impact of weather conditions on electricity production from wind turbines and solar panels and international electricity flows through the high-voltage grid. Based on the recent analysis, it is expected that for all of FGU, there is little room for additional electricity consumption by large consumers due to time-shifting of their electricity demand. To reduce the pressure on the grid at critical times, many initiatives by companies and governments are underway and this is welcomed by grid operators. However, unfortunately, solutions involving only time-shifting consumption alone are therefore not sufficiently effective.

Energy hubs in Flevoland, Gelderland and Utrecht

In practice, this means that energy hubs in FGU have to be tailor-made for the time being and, depending on the region-specific situation, will require additional flex measures or adapted elaboration in order not to increase total consumption. Examples include: optimising behind the meter through grid-conscious charging of vehicles, making smart controllable devices the norm and pilots such as congestion-neutral building in Almere. Energy hubs should stay within existing profiles where there is no room for flexible use of the grid. They do this for instance by capping peaks (electricity saving), adding storage and/or electricity feed-in.

For the long(er) term, grid operators are working hard to expand the electricity grid. For the shorter term, grid operators are exploring a wide range of solutions such as capacity-capping contracts, flextenders, energy hubs and alternative transmission rights to make better use of unused space on the grid. 

Working together on solutions

Grid operators regret that initiators of smart solutions in FGU get this awkward message. Given the importance that grid operators see in the cooperation of entrepreneurs working individually or with each other on smart flexible solutions to use the electricity grid more efficiently and thus make the best use of scarce space, grid operators will think along with initiators about tailor-made solutions and advise them on how a hub can or cannot be fitted into the electricity grid. Network operators also emphasise working with initiators on alternative solutions if there is no room for flexible use of the grid.

Contacts

Peter Hofland

Peter Hofland

Woordvoerder

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