Challenges in the regions
In the Netherlands, we are already seeing bottlenecks in the power grid, posing an obstacle to the energy transition and to the further economic development of the Netherlands. The electricity grid is busy with delivering power, but also with the feed-in of electricity. Expanding the grid is a process that will take many years, which is why we are also taking another approach with regard to the energy transition, i.e. applying smart solutions and innovations where possible in the areas where Liander operates.
Insufficient transmission capacity
Network operators are having to deal with a rapidly expanding work package. For example, the demand for the highest capacity connections, used for connecting large solar farms and data centres, has increased sevenfold in just a few years. A large solar farm makes a claim on the electricity grid comparable to a small city like Weesp, and a data centre draws about double that amount. To continue to meet demand, the network operators are expanding the electricity grid in many locations. This is a long process, however, partly due to the lengthy permit procedures. Owing to the skills shortages combined with the growing economy, we are increasingly unable to implement connections or network upgrades as quickly as the customer wants or within the statutory 18-week term.
In advance of the expansion of the power grid in these locations, we have investigated whether congestion management – the coordination of supply and demand for electricity in an area – is an option, which it is not in virtually all areas facing capacity constraints. As a result, ‘transmission restrictions’ are placed on businesses in these areas, with the effect that if they need more electricity or want to feed in more electricity than a given amount, they will generally have to wait until the grid has been expanded. This measure is needed to prevent power cables from being overloaded resulting in power outages.