Power grid overcrowded: from 2026 households possibly on waiting list

Published: October 19 at 16:17

The lightning-fast installation of solar panels, charging stations and heat pumps also has drawbacks. The power grid is overcrowded. If the electrification of businesses and households continues at this pace, there is a threat of a waiting list for contractors and individuals who also want a connection.

This is what network operators and outgoing Minister Rob Jetten (Energy and Climate) are warning about. Without measures, the capacity on the power grid will be completely in use in the provinces of Utrecht, Flevoland and Gelderland by 2026.

Manon van Beek, CEO of grid operator TenneT, speaks of a "new, challenging phase" for the energy transition. She points to the "super-fast growth" of solar panels, heat pumps and charging stations at households, among other things. "It is going much faster than we as grid operators had anticipated," she says.

Power outage imminent

In the years 2026 through 2029, this could lead to power outages at peak times, Minister Jetten writes to the House of Representatives. To prevent this, grid operators would have to temporarily disconnect businesses from power. 

Or put small users (households and small businesses) who want a new connection to the grid on a waiting list. There are also waiting lists for connections in large parts of the country now, but they are for large companies and other large consumers of electricity. 

To avoid this scenario, Jetten is coming up with a number of measures. For example, he wants to ensure that the procedures required to strengthen the electricity network take less time. By labeling this construction work as "serious social interest," arranging a permit could possibly be shortened by 1.5 years. 

Matching power consumption

Furthermore, he wants to make it possible for companies to coordinate their power consumption among themselves. Starting next year, companies will be allowed to have their space on the power grid used by another company at a time when they themselves are not using the space.

Another solution is to have grid operators sign contracts with large consumers. These then promise to shut down the machines for a while during peak times - between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. - or run them at a lower speed. 

Jetten wants to encourage this by paying large consumers if they use less power during peak times. He wants to do this by having companies make an offer to their grid operator. This is an offer with an amount for the amount of electricity they will not use. 

Bidding against each other

The idea is that if more companies make such offers, the grid operator can pick the cheapest offer. To prevent companies from peddling consumption that is much higher than what they really need - and thus taking advantage of it - companies should disclose what part of their energy contract is flexible. 

In order to prevent companies from secretly making price agreements and thus driving up prices, the Dutch Consumer and Market Authority (ACM) is watching. It had previously observed that companies and network operators have difficulty finding each other. 

For companies, the problems are often already urgent. Maarten Otto, president of Netbeheer Nederland, talks about about 6,600 companies on the waiting list in the Netherlands. In some regions, these waiting lists are longer than in others; for example, in Gelderland alone there are 1,500 companies.

Only when the grid is expanded, expected between 2027 and 2029, can they be connected.

Source: RTL News