Thursday 30 March 2023

Electricity grid can’t cope with demand, households face supply issues

New cables in Amsterdam. Photo:

Dutch regional electricity grid company Alliander has warned that consumers are likely to face more electricity supply problems because the current network is becoming overloaded.

The problems could range from not being able to feed solar energy back into the grid for a short time to flashing lights or even outages at individual, street or district level, Alliander said on Thursday. Alliander, which is 100% state owned, operates in Gelderland, Flevoland, Friesland, Noord-Holland and parts of Zuid-Holland.

The problems, the company says, stem from the rate at which the Netherlands is shifting away from gas to more sustainable forms of energy.

The number of homes and small firms with solar panels has gone up by 25% to over 760,000 while over a million homes have now been fitted with heat pumps. In addition, there are over 300,000 electric vehicles on the roads.

‘The electricity network in many residential areas is not up to the speed at which consumers are going green,’ chief executive Maarten Otto said. ‘We are working hard to adapt… but we need to place 20,000 new substations in the coming years. One in three streets need to be opened up to place heavier cables.’

In addition, Otto said, the company is facing a shortage of staff and equipment, making the situation even worse.

The company has allocated €5 billion to improving the regional grid in the coming seven years.

National grid operator Tennet warned last summer that the Limburg and Noord Brabant electricity network was operating at full capacity, leaving no room for new commercial customers who either want to buy or supply energy.

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