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Power crisis will last for years: not all connection problems solved until 2050

Published: 20 October 2023 at 12:50

The scarcity on the power grid is going to last for years. Only from 2027 will there be room again on the power grid in Gelderland for large companies that want to expand or build new premises. Until 2050, work will be needed to prevent the lights from being switched on at certain times.

So say Liander’s regional manager Minke Breijer and Tennet’s grid strategist Jan de Jong. The high demand for electricity from businesses and homes plus the impetuous growth of renewable energy is causing huge tightness on the power grid, both grid operators say.

Meanwhile, residential areas such as in Overbetuwe are not being built because there is no room on the power grid. Individuals who do get connected increasingly find that solar panels are switched off because the grid is too full.

That net needs to be expanded considerably. “The honest answer is that – with today’s knowledge – we started that too late,” says Breijer.

Nowhere more room for wind turbine on grid

Currently, there is almost nowhere in Gelderland left on the power grid for new wind farms or large-scale initiatives with solar roofs. The problems with power purchase by companies are slightly less significant, but already problematic in several parts of Gelderland. Dozens of companies are told they cannot buy additional power when they ask for it.

What are the implications of the power crisis?

  • Solar panels on private rooftops are turned off at times because the grid cannot handle all the extra power.
  • New housing estates, swimming pools and businesses cannot be built or are delayed.
  • Private individuals who need more power for a heat pump or want to install solar panels often have to wait a long time for it.

That the congested power grid is causing problems in Gelderland in particular is not surprising. ,,We see large solar and wind farms being built mainly on the edges of the Netherlands,” says Breijer. ,,But in those places, more rural areas, there is not the greatest demand. So we have to transport all that generated power from Gelderland to places where there is the most demand. The power grid is not designed for that.”

New demand for power not keeping up

The grid operators are working to strengthen electricity grids all over the province in the coming years. Hundreds of kilometres of cable will be put extra into the ground. This is necessary to prevent large-scale electricity outages. ,,It hardly ever happens in the Netherlands that there is an outage, for example. But the chances of this will increase if we start asking for more and more of the cables that are there now,” says De Jong.

The expansion of the power grid is not going fast enough because the demand for power just keeps rising, says Liander’s Breijer. “We are already seeing, for example, that the extensions soon to be completed in Doetinchem are not enough for the area. We are already looking for places to add another power station. These are problems we encounter across the country.”

Network operators Liander and Tennet are therefore calling on governments to enable simple procedures for the construction of distribution stations, for example. Now there are often protests from the neighbourhood when such a structure is constructed. This means that construction can be delayed by as much as five years. More will be known today about the national approach against power shortages.

Source: De Gelderlander

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