Execute more work
To achieve the energy system of the future, production will have to increase even further. This means investing in solutions aimed at increasing capacity by installing more than 20,000 transformer substations, building 56 stations, upgrading 100 stations, laying 40,000 km of cable, replacing 1,200 km of gas network and creating some 100,000 public heating network connections in existing buildings in the period to 2030. This will require us to develop and steer innovative, integrated and cost-efficient solutions, using various approaches.
Joint planning to carry out the work
We are working intensively with our public-sector partners to shorten the completion time for the energy infrastructure. We have set up task forces in Noord-Holland and Amsterdam to jointly coordinate the expansion of the energy infrastructure. We also discuss and agree projects with our stakeholders to ensure that expectations and responsibilities for keeping to the schedule are clear to all parties. Our proactive communication about planning in the region helps us to offer our customers prospects.
Proactively organise people, materials and services in a timely manner
We are able to smartly secure more labour capacity by offering large, long-term work packages using innovative approaches. This lets us complete the work more efficiently, faster and with more stability. We aligned our organisation accordingly in 2022. One example of this is the expansion of the Lelie (NuLelie) grid in Friesland and the Noordoostpolder. Liander contracted three contractors/consortia for this sizeable programme, each of which is responsible for a range of projects in a subarea. The chosen contractors will prepare the work, lay cables and install transformer substations throughout the region in the coming years. The right procedures have to be followed in each municipality to obtain permits and buy land. Liander always carries this out in close collaboration with the relevant municipality.
Furthermore, in 2022 we started working on tendering procedures that ensure more equal relations and better prospects in our collaborations, whereby the scaling up of the labour market and working innovatively become part of how we contract material and component suppliers and contractors. The improved prognoses underpin our overall tendering calendar. In partnership with suppliers, we were able to limit the impact of material scarcity on our production last year. The improved prognoses, the long-term overview of developments in the market and the creation of buffer stocks for four to six months of the most critical materials – distribution transformers and cables – also increased the security of the supply of materials and components.
Recruit technicians and adopt smart training
We continue to relentlessly invest in the necessary scaling up of the number of technicians so that we can carry out more work. Increasing the recruitment, training and retention of technicians is at the heart of this. We mainly invest in specific, condensed training courses. Modular training programmes in which theory and practice are more closely aligned are being developed for technicians, foremen and engineers. These programmes will be a better match for their knowledge, experience and learning needs and enable them to be deployed more quickly. The Technology Action Plan is also a significant step towards ensuring sufficient staff for the sector as a whole. Public authorities, employers’ organisations and technical sectors are working together in this programme to attract, train and retain talented technical workers. The planned labour matching platform is expected to help significantly in matching supply and demand, thereby increasing recruitment and widening the human resource pool.
Simplifying, innovating and digitalising work processes
Technical labour capacity is and will remain scarce, which makes it a continuing obstacle to carrying out more work. Consequently, we are also looking for a solution on other fronts. Examples include simplifying, innovation and digitalising, so that we can more effectively deploy the capacity we do have. Alliander is working with the sector on many initiatives in this area. One example is the compact connection module. This is a new plug & play component for network operators with which objects in the public space, such as a charging point or street lighting, can be connected faster, more safely and even without the use of tools. Such innovations are needed to be able to do more work in the same amount of time. Process innovations such as these will make the total task less labour intensive and less complex.