Action plan for more space on the Dutch power grid

Dutch national and regional governments, grid operators, ACM and market parties have presented a National Grid Congestion Action Programme (Landelijke Actieprogramma Netcongestie). The programme is to create more space on the power grid in every way possible to minimise and prevent the problems with the full power grid.

The Netherlands is in the midst of the energy transition. However, with fossil fuels making way for electricity and renewable energy production growing rapidly, the demand for space on the power grid is also growing explosively, causing the grid to become (temporarily) full in more and more places. Increasing the capacity of the electricity grid more quickly, stimulating smarter use of the grid with new regulations, and encouraging more flexible energy use, are some of the solutions suggested in the National Grid Congestion Action Programme.

National action programme

The action programme is Led by special coordinator Ben Voorhorst. Lessons from the regional approach to the full power grid in North Brabant, and Limburg and the Amsterdam region, among others, have also been used in the process.

Cooperation for more grid space

Grid operators are already currently investing some 3.9 billion euros on an annual basis and are working to double to triple the capacity of the power grid over the next 10 years. The strengthening of the power grid, however, cannot possibly keep up with the exponentially growing demand for (renewable) electricity. In the coming years, grid operators will need an additional 13,000 technicians throughout the chain.

According to Hans-Peter Oskam, Director Policy & Energy Transition of Netbeheer Nederland, closer cooperation is necessary to be able to build faster and make smarter use of the grid. To do that successfully, all actors in the system are needed, from governments and market players, to industry and interest groups and connected parties. Both now and in the future.

The action programme consists of three action lines:

Building faster

Expanding the electricity grid as quickly as possible remains the top priority. The grid operators are currently investing €3.9 billion a year in the electricity grid, which is double compared to 2019. Practice has shown that the lead time to expand the power grid can be reduced by several years if grid operators, governments and market players better coordinate their plans and complete procedures in parallel and faster. Every province will ensure administrative coordination, for instance in the form of an ‘energy board’ where authorities work with grid operators and industry clusters to bundle and integrate projects per area. This will ensure that permit procedures can be completed faster. Network operators and market parties will involve each other earlier in the process for planned investments. In this way, the parties involved ensure that grid expansions and construction and sustainability plans are better aligned.

Smarter use of the power grid

Besides expanding the grid, it is important to use the available space as efficiently as possible. By using grid space flexibly and using the grid less at peak times, more parties can be connected. That is why the parties involved also want to make rush-hour avoidance more advantageous, introduce flexible contracts and enable the sharing of a single connection for wind, solar and energy storage. Energy storage will also have its own contract conditions, as storage can contribute to solving grid congestion.

Increasing flexible capacity

As the Netherlands moves to a sustainable energy system, it becomes increasingly important to match energy consumption to (local) energy production. For many companies, flexible use is new and complex. Energy producers, industry associations, grid operators and governments will help companies with technical support. Financial support is also being explored. An independent platform will be used to make tools and best practices available, for instance. Provinces and municipalities will also start supporting ‘energy hubs’. These are local networks, for instance in business parks, in which generation, heat, storage and consumption are coordinated. Using energy locally reduces the burden on the national grid.

Yesterday, Minister Jetten (Climate and Energy) presented the action programme in a letter to parliament. In the letter he stated that while these steps are an important part of the solution, they will not solve the problem all at once. Before the summer, he will critically review whether enough results are being achieved or whether additional actions are needed. (bron: Netbeheernederland

The action programme can be downloaded here (only in Dutch)

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