The electricity grid in 2045. Fully connected, on land, at sea and across borders.
The Target Grid visualises the electricity grid in 2045. A robust and realistic vision of the future, based on all available knowledge.
A dot on the horizon becomes a plan for the future. To build new infrastructure in a targeted, smart and efficient way.
The right innovations, at the right place, at the right time.
For an adequate, reliable, affordable, and climate-neutral energy system of the future.
Target Grid is TenneT’s vision of an integrated, onshore and offshore, cross-border electricity grid, which is crucial to the climate-neutral energy system in 2045.
Target Grid: a complex task
Connecting new energy sources to the grid; transporting unprecedented amounts of electricity over land and sea. These are complex challenges. Expanding and upgrading the grid for the future can only be done by co-operating with partners, looking far ahead, starting now and remaining flexible. That’s what our Target Grid sets out to do.
As the starting point, TenneT presented an initial picture of Target Grid in April 2023, with the Target Grid Map – a vision of the electricity grid in 2045.
In conversation with stakeholders
This year, TenneT will discuss the map with stakeholders. These include government ministries, politicians, industry and businesses, (regional) electricity and gas grid operators, provinces and other stakeholders, such as environmental organisations and research institutes in the Netherlands and Germany. The Target Grid will continue to develop with the knowledge, insights and requirements of all these parties in mind. This will ensure the Target Grid is a sustainable and widely supported approach that forms the basis for a sustainable economy and positive business climate.
We will publish a more mature and further calculated version of the Target Grid Map by the end of 2023. Input from stakeholders will be incorporated into this.
We will carefully align this vision for the future of the Target Grid with the vision of the Dutch government on the energy system of 2050, the Nationaal Plan Energiesysteem 2050. The draft plan is currently scheduled for release in summer 2023 and, after consultation, should be finalised by the end of 2023.
The Target Grid is based on broadly supported scenarios for the highest levels of electrification in society. This means TenneT will be prepared for all scenarios of electricity demand, and ensures the timely expansion and modernisation of the grid, with sufficient transmission capacity. By planning for the highest demand, it is easier to adjust if lower capacity or speed of development is needed.
We have developed the scenarios together with the Dutch and German governments and grid operators. For the Netherlands that’s the Integrale Infrastructuurverkenning 2030-2050 (II3050), and for Germany the Netentwicklungsplan 2023.
Scenarios for high electrification in the Netherlands and Germany are based on:
- Doubling of electricity demand
- Share of electricity in the energy system will grow from 20% today to 40-60%
- Electricity generation will grow faster than demand
- Significant flexibility in electricity generation and use
- Both countries install around 70GW of offshore wind capacity
Backcasting = ‘shaping a vision for the future and using this to determine how to realise this future. Look at possibilities and actions that can realise that vision.’
From the future to now
The Target Grid Map’s robust vision for the future enables TenneT to better determine what is needed to realise the electricity grid of the future, and to immediately take the right action. How should the grid design develop over the next decades and what steps are needed to realise this? By aiming our grid design and approach at the distant future, new opportunities arise. This method, called backcasting, has many benefits when it comes to major changes over a longer period of time and differs from planning chronologically. Read more.
Changes in supply and demand in the future
Growth 63GW + 156GW
Growth 9GW + 14GW
Growth 54GW + 147GW
Growth 138GW + 628GW
TenneT is taking responsibility for ensuring the high-voltage grid grows in step with the realisation of a more sustainable electricity system. It ensures that the grid will be ready to accommodate large amounts of sustainable electricity in 2045
Doubling or tripling the power grid
European industry, mobility and households are rapidly electrifying. Currently, the share of electricity in the energy system is 20%. By 2050, that share will grow to 40-60%. This will require a doubling or tripling of the electricity grid. This sounds like a simple sum, but the impact on infrastructure and society is huge.
Concrete picture of future electricity grid
The Target Grid maps out a future grid that is capable of meeting society's growing electricity demand. This concrete image of the future electricity grid – with connections over land, at sea and between countries - has been missing until now. Infrastructure is crucial to the energy transition. That’s why the Target Grid translates the 2050 climate goals into the implications and principles for the grid, which should be ready by 2045.
The goals are clear and sharp: the European Union wants to be the first climate-neutral continent in 2050. Germany in 2045, the Netherlands in 2050. By 2030, the EU demands 55% lower CO2 emissions. This may sound like a long way away, but when it comes to building high-voltage connections, 2050 is like next month, 2040 next week, and 2030 tomorrow.
The Target Grid follows principles for completing the Target Grid Map, which is the concrete image of the 2045 electricity grid
Reliable, safe, sustainable and future-proof
The principles ensure that all solutions and options are based on the same footing and fit together. They also aim to make the grid of the future as reliable, safe, sustainable, and forward-looking as possible.
Target Grid Map
The Target Grid Map, the concrete image of the electricity grid of 2045, is the result of a complex analysis. The Map is based on input from many sources:
- Data on production, consumption, and transport of energy, with predictions for the coming decades
- Scenarios from multiple studies
- Information on making sectors sustainable
- Developments in the entire energy system
- AC solutions
- DC solutions
- Offshore (energy hubs, meshed grids, interconnectors)
- Solutions in regulation and market design
The infrastructure for high voltage alternating current (AC) is being designed for optimal energy transportation on land and for optimal balance of the grid. The functions:
- Connect demand and supply
- Cross-border energy connections for cheaper flexibility and security of supply
- Transport of energy from sea, from coast to demand centres
- Exporting surplus energy to for instance Belgium
Target Grid supplies a high voltage grid with direct current (DC), on land and at sea.
- This 525kV DC-grid is a ‘superhighway’ for long distance bulk energy transport. For instance, from offshore wind parks, through hubs, to industry clusters in the Netherlands and Germany. Clustering high energy-intensive industry in coastal areas where offshore wind comes ashore is part of that strategy.
- Connects the Netherlands with neighbouring countries such as UK, NO, DK, DE, BE, and FR to increase security of supply.
- Connecting offshore wind across long distances. DC technology is the only efficient way to connect offshore wind power.
- Connecting from coast-to-coast, for instance NL and DE, to prevent overloading the onshore AC infrastructure.
Hubs and meshing are an essential part of the Target Grid. They are needed to realise almost all functions of an electricity grid: security of supply, grid stability, and integration of offshore wind. The hubs are essential in converting DC to AC and vice versa. They also play an important role in producing green hydrogen with offshore wind electricity.
The Target Grid Map accounts for possible changes of rules and regulations for all aspects of an innovative energy system. Market rules, for example, can prevent unnecessary infrastructure construction. With new contract forms and regulated flexibility, a grid need not necessarily be designed for the peaks in supply and demand. Instead, the key is to find an optimum between demand, supply, transport, and flexibility.
Our people about Target Grid
Why is Target Grid so important, how is it being worked on and what will it mean for our work?
Alan Croes is Head of Energy System Planning (ESP) at TenneT, the department dedicated to energy transition perspectives and designing the grid of the future.
Balthasar Klimbie works at the Energy System Planning (ESP) unit and is the linking pin between TenneT and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate.
As former director of Energy System Planning (ESP) at TenneT, Peter Hoffmann has been instrumental in the development and promotion of Target Grid.
- April 2023
TenneT continuously updates Target Grid Map, based on research, ongoing developments and input from stakeholders. By adding more elements to the knowledge and insights, having them validated and built upon, the future picture will become increasingly complete and robust.
- Summer and autumn 2023
Target Grid Map is tuned and updated with stakeholders. In addition, we use Target Grid when preparing the investment plan.
- Late 2023
The strategy, approach and development of Target Grid will take further shape in 2023. For instance, by the end of 2023, Target Grid Map will be completed with Target Market, 110-150kV grids and System Operations.
Frequently asked questions
Target Grid is TenneT's vision of an integrated and cross-border onshore and offshore electricity grid that fits into the 2045 climate-neutral energy system.
The Target Grid Map assumes a scenario with a high level of electrification – this is efficient in terms of preparation time and total system cost – and follows assumptions made in the Netzentwicklungsplan (NEP) and II3050.
The Target Grid Map paints a picture of our future grid and is flexible enough to incorporate system innovations that we are currently unaware of.
In dialogue with our stakeholders, we will further develop the Target Grid Map.
TenneT bases its design on three principles: Target Grid is socially driven, efficient and innovative. These principles are elaborated in Design Principles of Target Grid Map.
With Target Grid, TenneT seeks the balance between developing infrastructure in time and sufficiently for the energy transition and avoiding redundant investments. By assuming a scenario with the highest degree of electrification, we prepare for all possible futures. Those preparations, such as the establishment of energy corridors, are not irreversible, and ultimately we invest only when it proves really necessary.
Target Grid is not meant to give direction to the energy transition, but gives TenneT agility in preparing for the future in a timely manner. With a robust view of the Target Grid Map, TenneT can build long-term planning, future-proof investments and start preparing infrastructure needed for energy transition in a timely manner. Investments can emerge from Target Grid in time to be seized in IP and possibly MIEK.
With Target Grid as a starting point, TenneT is happy to enter into discussions with politicians, industry, electricity and gas grid operators and other partners in the energy transition, in order to further develop the future high-voltage grid and, if necessary, make adjustments along the way.
TenneT will present the first version of Target Grid in April 2023.
By engaging with our partners in the energy transition, TenneT will make the Target Grid Map robust. In the Netherlands, this will be done in coordination with the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate, among
others, within the Energy System 2050 (PES/NPE) programme.
By the end of 2023, TenneT will update Target Grid based on these discussions and others.
Target Grid focuses only on the electricity grid.
Target Grid focuses on infrastructure in 2045. From that picture, TenneT will backcast and picture what the path towards 2045 will look like.
TenneT is developing Target Grid with a Northwest European scope. The Target Grid Map is an infrastructure picture of the Dutch and TenneT's part of the German power grid, from 220 kV, including international connections.
The Target Grid Map integrates onshore and offshore.
For the Dutch part, TenneT uses the National scenario from II3050, as this is the scenario with the highest degree of electrification. This is the variant without the e-fuels.
To start preparing infrastructure needed for the energy transition in time, TenneT sees a need to make this scenario concrete for its own infrastructure.
Target Grid goes a step further than II3050, partly because we apply innovations and anticipate possible future regulatory changes.