Better use of networks

In 2021, we scaled up several innovations to the point where they actually could be used for customers. They are smart solutions that take advantage of the off-peak periods on the energy grid. 

New tariff models and contract types

The way the energy network is used is undergoing fundamental change. Generation is increasingly decentralised. Power usage is becoming increasingly variable due to the rise in electric vehicles, electrification in industry and heat pumps. Increasing volatility has led to a growing need for optimisation, both nationally and locally. As a network operator, we are working on new pricing models and contract types to ensure that customers use their own energy first, or only use energy when it is available in abundance. We are acting to encourage this at the individual, regional and national levels. 

In 2021, we launched a pilot project at a business park in Noord-Holland province to explore the potential of a virtual group contract. This involves balancing supply and demand between different companies to avoid overloading the power grid. We are also investigating the possibility of implementing time-bound contracts, which would allow us to connect companies in areas where grid capacity is scarce.

Congestion management

In congestion management, business customers receive a monetary reward when they use or feed in less electricity. The grid capacity this frees up can then be split among other customers. This approach allows us to connect more customers. We are now applying congestion management in Neerijnen. The Systems Operations department ensures there is the right amount of energy in the right place at the right time. It controls the flows of energy through the grid, with the aim of making the best possible use of the grid and ensuring energy stability and continuity.

Dynamic feed-in

Dynamic feed-in calls for customers to set up their solar or wind farm to actively limit (‘dim’) the feed-in in real time when the grid voltage becomes excessively high. This makes it possible to connect additional customers in areas with voltage bottlenecks. In 2021, we launched pilot projects where dimming also occurs when a cable or transformer is overloaded. This lets us safely connect additional customers in places where there is insufficient transformer or cable capacity at peak times. In 2021, we also expanded use of the outage reserve in our network. Use of this spare capacity allows us to connect more feed-in customers.