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
Balthasar: 'Target Grid was introduced in April 2023. The Target Grid Map is then a starting point. It should eventually become a socially supported vision of the future. To this end, we will spend the rest of the year at the table with stakeholders such as provinces, municipalities, ministries and industrial stakeholders. From them we want to hear how they look at this story. What information can they add, where do they see bottlenecks and opportunities? Conversations with detailed information from us - truly two-way traffic, in other words. By the end of 2023, we will then have a second, widely supported version of the Target Grid Map.'
'We make the Target Grid Map in two ways. The first works with a mathematical model developed by a team of ESP. This model can calculate the grid load based on a scenario, after which grid strategists design solutions for found bottlenecks. The second way does not rely on a computer, but works with 'expert judgement'. What developments do we see coming and how do we respond to them? These are questions we answer together with the experts. Together, this produces a well-thought-out Target Grid Map.'
Direction for growth
With Target Grid, TenneT is taking the lead in designing the electricity grid of the future. We do this in close consultation with Economic Affairs and Climate. Every week I spend a day and a half at that ministry to coordinate our findings. In the National Energy System Plan, which they are working on in The Hague, our insights are incorporated as much as possible.'
Investment plan versus backcasting
'TenneT has so far kept up with growing electrification and looks ten years ahead in its investment plans (IP). But the energy transition is a huge turnaround: the grid load is growing impetuously, less predictably, and that growth could also use some direction. By understanding the target in 2045, we can calculate backwards ('backcasting') to see if we are moving in the right direction. Are we reaching the final goal with our efforts, or do we need to adjust the approach? If you start from the end situation, you may discover smarter solutions than if you continue to build on existing infrastructure. That is the advantage of this backcasting approach.'
'We now assume scenarios with high levels of electrification. That makes our grid the most robust for the future. The scenarios for 2045 may well change over the years. Then we will adjust the Target Grid Map. But it also works the other way round: if we provide more clarity about the development of the electricity grid, society can anticipate it. For industry, for example, it is important to know where a lot of grid capacity will become available.'
If we bring the future a little closer, we can anticipate it more easily
Huge gain - also socially
'If TenneT foresees twenty projects with Target Grid that are not yet in the investment plan, for example, we can prepare them in advance. Discussing routes, buying land, initiating permits. With that preliminary work, projects go much faster in the future. Even if only half of those 20 projects are actually realised, or if we shorten the lead time of projects by five years, that is a huge gain. For our projects, but also to avoid congestion. If we bring the future a bit closer, we can respond to it more easily. That's how Target Grid is meant to be.'