Waiting lists for power access in the Netherlands are getting longer
More than 5600 applications for power access have been on the waiting list of Dutch network operators for some time. And the number continues to rise. The reason for the long time it takes to execute the applications is that the grid expansion is too costly, there is a shortage of staff and, in general, the capacity of the power grid is insufficient, as the journalistic research platform Pointer (KRO-NCRV) has discovered.
Of the 5,600 applications in the waiting list, 2,200 applications are for a new connection and the rest are for the extension of an existing power access.
The only solution to create more capacity is to expand the power grid, but this is proving to be difficult as the Netherlands increasingly relies on sustainable power sources. "This requires a much stronger power grid," says Hans-Peter Oskam, director of energy transition and policy at Netbeheer Nederland. But Dutch grid operators are still too slow to do that. "“Sustainability is currently going much faster than we can build an additional electricity grid. We need to find ways to accelerate.” Oskam explains.
The crippling expansion of the grid is also due to a lack of personnel. Currently, 18,000 people are working on the expansion of the power grid in the Netherlands, however, Oskam warns that this number will have to increase dramatically within a decade to handle the capacity of the grid expansion. "We see that in the next 7, 8 years another 18,000 people will have to be added to handle the workload. So the biggest question we're asking right now is, where are we going to get enough staff right now?" he tells Pointer.
In addition, the nitrogen problem is also causing the slow expansion of the grid. For example, there are power plants in North-Veluwe that should actually be expanded, but are located right next to a nature reserve. Since a lot of nitrogen is produced during the expansion of power plants and this is not permitted in order to protect the nature reserves, the expansion cannot continue.
Among other things, Oskam sees solutions to the expansion problem in a change in the way nitrogen policy is handled. For example, he would like to see relief for nitrogen emissions released during construction work on the power grid.
Furthermore, he thinks that the procedures required for the expansion of the power grid could also become more efficient. "We should find a way that we don't need more than two years for the land and also for the approval procedures. The European Commission is now putting forward proposals to really speed that up. But if we want to achieve the climate goals, it's crucial that this project succeeds," he tells Pointer.