New companies can't connect to grid in Limburg, Brabant; Unacceptable, provinces say
New companies in Noord-Brabant and Limburg can no longer be connected to the TenneT electricity grid for both the generation and purchase of electricity, Minister Rob Jetten (Energy) announced. The grid is "almost at maximum capacity" in those provinces. Unacceptable, the two provinces say. Entrepreneurs called on the Cabinet to take control and solve this problem. There are currently no consequences for households, the Minster said.
TenneT is looking for solutions. It is not yet clear how long the stop will last. Jetten spoke of "very unfortunate news" with significant consequences.
This stop "can have unacceptable consequences for the economy, the energy transition, and many social tasks in virtually all of southern Netherlands," the provinces of Noord-Brabant and Limburg said in a joint response. They said they were surprised by Tennet's announcement and want to develop an "action plan for more and smarter capacity on the electricity network" as soon as possible.
"The decision of the network manager is unprecedented and unacceptable. The consequences for both the energy transition and the rest of Limburg society are considerable," said Limburg Deputy Maarten van Gaans-Gijbels. "I, therefore, call on all parties involved to go to the extreme and explore new paths to prevent the effects." Noord-Brabant deputy Anne-Marie Spierings: "Precisely now that we want to reduce dependence on (foreign) gas, the electricity infrastructure in a large part of the Netherlands is reaching its limit."
The demand for connections to the grid in Noord-Brabant and Limburg increased "explosively" recently, partly due to "the rapid development of the number of heat pumps, charging stations, new companies, and sustainability initiatives," TenneT said. Over the past months, TenneT received over 800 megawatts of new requests in Noord-Brabant and Limburg, the company said. That is more than four times the consumption of a city like Den Bosch.
In the near future, TenneT will enter into talks with companies that are prepared to "limit the load on the grid at peak times for a fee." The company has already launched an investigation into the lack of space for electricity supply, and Tennet is also having the blockage on the supply side investigated. These studies should be completed by December.
Over the next ten years, TenneT will invest approximately 2 billion euros in the power grid in both provinces. The existing high-voltage line between Geertruidenberg in Noord-Brabant and Maasbracht in Limburg will be upgraded to transport more electricity. Grid operator Enexis is also investing in local branches of the grid.
The Cabinet must take "maximum control" on the expansion of the power grid, according to business associations VNO-NCW and MKB-Nederland. They believe that expanding the electricity grid should be a top priority. The capacity problems are very worrying to entrepreneurs "who do everything to become more sustainable." "This will seriously affect the energy transition and achieving the climate goals,' the business associations predict. "All the problems are now coming together."
VNO-NCW and MKB-Nederland are already discussing the problems with the network operators and the government. The interest groups have also made proposals to speed up the permit procedures for the construction of, for example, new distribution stations. Grid operators like TenneT and Enexis indicate that these procedures delay the reinforcement of the grid. “We must now pull out all the stops to boost sustainability,” said VNO-NCW and MKB-Nederland.
Reporting by ANP