Energy bills to rise as more people turn to electric cars, new heat pumps: report

Electric cars charging on the street
Electric cars charging on the streetScharfsinnDepositPhotosDeposit Photos

The Dutch electricity network can definitely not cope with the coming boom of electric cars and heat pumps. Grid operators will have to invest billions into upgrading the electricity grid, and that may result in higher energy bills, they said to newspaper AD.

The Netherlands' goals are to install 1.7 million public charging points for electric cars and to take 1.5 million homes off the natural gas network by 2030. That means a whole lot of heat pumps will have to be installed. And that requires an unprecedented amount of power, the grid operators said to the newspaper.

One Tesla Model 3 uses as much electricity as 10 households, according to the newspaper. And one heat pump uses as much as a handful of tumble dryers. The cables currently in the ground and the transformer housings are too thin and too weak to provide all that energy. 

The Netherlands three largest grid operators are investing millions in order to cope with the skyrocketing demand for electricity, they said. Enexis is investing 878 million euros this year, Liander 882 million euros, and Stedin 669 million euros. For all three of them, that is nearly double the investments they made in 2015. Liander told AD that its network needs to "double" to keep up with the charging stations and heat pumps. "A task we normally take 40 years for which we now have to realize in 10 years," Liander said. 

Stedin director Marc van der Linden expects the grid managers will spend around 30 billion euros in the next decade on constructing and maintaining a more robust electricity network. And TenneT, the manager of the national network with the high-voltage pylons, will spend more than 10 billion euros, he said to AD.

Where the grid operators will get that money, is not yet clear. The tariffs that they can charge consumers through the energy bill are set by ACM, the Dutch authority on consumers and markets. But Van der Linden expects that the energy bills will have to increase. "Count on at least a few dozen euros a year," he said to the newspaper.