In Brabant and Limburg, there is a rapidly growing demand for extra capacity on the electricity grid, particularly due to the arrival of many solar parks. The amount of electricity generated by these is greater than the electricity grid can currently handle. Plenty of investments are being made in both regions to strengthen and expand the grid, but these take a long time. TenneT therefore announced last year a temporary halt to new connections and at the same time began investigating possibilities for using the existing grid more intensively.
Flexibility to create more space on the grid
In this so-called congestion study, TenneT explores whether customers connected to the electricity grid can flexibly handle their supply or demand in exchange for a fee. This means that, in the event of an imminent overload, the grid operator will ask these parties to temporarily supply less to the grid or to purchase more. The use of flexibility at peak times creates more space on the grid to connect new parties.
TenneT has drawn up a questionnaire for the Brabant and Limburg region, which potential suppliers can use to indicate to what extent they can supply flexibility. These can be either parties that are directly connected to the high-voltage grid or parties that are connected to the regional grid of Enexis. TenneT will study the input from potential suppliers in more detail and incorporate it into its congestion management study. The results of the study are expected before the summer.
New regulations in the pipeline
The study in Brabant and Limburg fits in with a new development that is currently being worked on within the energy sector. Regulator ACM will publish new rules in the course of 2022, in which this is further elaborated. The congestion study in Brabant and Limburg will be carried out in anticipation of these new rules and regulations.
Two billion for investments in Brabant and Limburg
The use of flexibility is one of the measures to accelerate the creation of more connection space to the grid. In Brabant and Limburg, the use of the “vluchtstrook” of the electricity grid to connect more sustainable projects is also being considered. In addition, Brabant and Limburg are working hard to reinforce the high-voltage grid. Additional connections and high-voltage substations are being built and the grid is being upgraded to facilitate all sustainable projects. TenneT will invest over two billion euros in this during the next ten years.
Similar studies in other regions
TenneT expects that flexibility can make a significant contribution to the more intensive use of the electricity grid and thus to the accelerated provision of additional connection capacity. In the near future, consultations will also begin similar to these in Friesland, Flevoland, Utrecht and Gelderland, where grid capacity is also limited due to rapid developments resulting from the energy transition. A study has already been completed in Zeeland, where preparations are being made for the future use of flexibility in the event of scarce network capacity.