The supply of electricity generated by solar energy in the provinces of Drenthe and Groningen is so large that the current network cannot handle it. Minister of Economic Affairs Eric Wiebes says that the northern is unlikely to be up to the task before 2028, which stands in the way of local plans to switch to solar.
Translation by Hans de Preter
RTV Drenthe reports that the number of requests for solar connections to the grid are piling up: if the existing requests are approved, 10,000 megavolt-amperes (MVA) of solar energy would be generated, which is nearly six times greater than the existing grid’s capacity of 1,673 MVA.
Long term plans
Every two years, grid operators assess wind and solar energy proliferation in the country. There is a national plan for wind energy, which makes it easier for operators to account for, but that is not the case for solar:provincial authorities are responsible for the permitting process, which makes it difficult to get a realistic idea on the national scale of how much is being invested in the technology.
While Groningen, Friesland and Drenthe have all rolled out initiatives to prompt home owners and entrepreneurs to invest in solar panels, the existing grid infrastructure is not equipped to handle the large-scale switch. The growing pains for the switch to solar are impacting provinces outside of the north: sparsely populated areas across the country are particularly affected due to historically lower demand.
In some regions, including southern and eastern Drenthe, the growth of solar energy plans has been so explosive that the same investment has been made in two years as would normally be made over 30 years. A number of massive solar parks have popped up across the north in recent years, due in part to the ease with which they can be built, but their popularity appears to have caught the grid off guard.
More high voltage stations
In a letter addressed to the Dutch parliament, Minister of Economic Affairs Eric Wiebes says that by 2028, there should be ten new high-voltage stations coming online in the northern provinces which will mean an additional 3,600 MVA on the network, but that will not be enough to cover the existing and pending plans.