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Power grid congested: from 2026 households possibly on waiting list

Published: 19 October 2023 at 16:17

The lightning-fast installation of solar panels, charging stations and heat pumps also has drawbacks. The power grid is overcrowded. If the electrification of businesses and households continues at this pace, there is a threat of a waiting list for contractors and private individuals who also want a connection.

This is what network operators and outgoing minister Rob Jetten (Energy and Climate) are warning about. Without action, capacity on the power grid will be fully in use in the provinces of Utrecht, Flevoland and Gelderland by 2026.

Manon van Beek, CEO of grid operator TenneT, speaks of a ‘new, challenging phase’ for the energy transition. She points to the “super-fast growth” of solar panels, heat pumps and charging stations at households, among other things. “It is going much faster than we as grid operators had anticipated,” she says.

Power outages looming

In the years 2026 to 2029, this could lead to power outages at peak times, Minister Jetten wrote to the House of Representatives. To prevent this, grid operators would have to temporarily disconnect businesses from power.

Or put small users (households and small businesses) who want a new connection to the grid on a waiting list. There are already waiting lists for connections in large parts of the country too, but these are for large companies and other large consumers of power.

To avoid this scenario, Jetten is coming up with a number of measures. For instance, he wants to ensure that the procedures required to strengthen the electricity network take less time. By labelling these construction works as ‘serious social interest’, arranging a permit could possibly be shortened by 1.5 years.

Matching power consumption

He also wants to make it possible for companies to coordinate their power consumption among themselves. Starting next year, companies will be allowed to let another company use their space on the power grid at the time when they are not using the space themselves.

Another solution is to let grid operators sign contracts with large consumers. These would then promise to shut down machines or reduce their speed during peak times – between 4pm and 8pm.

Jetten wants to encourage this by paying large-scale consumers if they use less power during peak hours. He wants to do this by letting companies make an offer to their grid operator. The offer will include an amount for the amount of electricity they will not use.

Bidding against each other

The idea is that if more companies make such offers, the grid operator can pick the cheapest one. To prevent companies from peddling consumption that is much higher than what they really need – and thus taking advantage of it – companies must disclose which part of their energy contract is flexible.

To prevent companies from secretly making price agreements about this and thus driving up prices, regulator Authority Consumer and Market (ACM) is watching. It previously found that companies and network operators still have difficulty finding each other.

For companies, the problems are often already urgent. Maarten Otto, chairman of Netbeheer Nederland, talks about some 6,600 companies on the waiting list in the Netherlands. In some regions, those waiting lists are longer than in others; in Gelderland alone, for instance, there are 1,500 companies.

Only when the grid is expanded, expected between 2027 and 2029, will they be able to be connected.

Source: RTL News

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