More than a thousand businesses without power in North Holland

(8 Nov 2022)

The electricity grid in North Holland is so overloaded that more than a thousand companies and other large institutions can no longer get connected.

As a result, they cannot move, expand and become more sustainable. Now, we would certainly all love to get rid of gas, but the alternative is unattainable. With all its consequences.

The situation in North Holland is dramatic, and there are no ready-made solutions that will help us in the short term. We are faced with extremely difficult choices: building new residential areas as well as expanding hospitals and making businesses more sustainable are currently not possible. There is simply no room for that on the power grid. Companies in the North Sea Canal area, which collectively account for almost 70% of the CO2 reduction that we must achieve in North Holland according to the Climate Agreement, are so bothered by the traffic on the electricity grid that they have reached the goal of using 55% less CO2 in 2030. will not get hit.

Energy infrastructure is not ‘sexy’, but the copper wires in energy networks are crucial for the total energy transition. Together with the network operators Liander and TenneT and the municipalities in North Holland, we take our responsibility. We are doing everything we can to resolve these issues. First, we solve the main bottlenecks in the electricity grid as quickly as possible by working better together and streamlining procedures. It may sound official, but it is badly needed.
At the same time, we are looking at opportunities to relieve the grid by, for example, saving energy, and we are testing e.g. smart solutions for sharing electricity. And we are working on a design for new energy networks that will also be able to handle the supply and demand of the various energy types in the future.

The energy transition has a huge impact on energy networks. The electricity network must be expanded considerably, the gas network must be prepared for the transport of hydrogen and many heating networks must be installed. In addition, significant investments must be made in storage and flexibility to keep the energy system in balance.

It is clear that there is a need for it: a grant scheme we launched last summer for smart solutions was already oversubscribed within a week. We received a proposal for a comprehensive solution for business parks for overloading the grid, building an own energy system of solar panels with a battery for storing energy and for supplying self-produced energy directly to e.g. and many more creative ideas for continuing to operate as a business, whether off the grid or not.

On 7 November, I discussed with all the councilors involved in Noord-Holland Noord how we can put our shoulders to the wheel together. Clear political choices must be made in order to have sufficient energy in the future to enable all ambitions in our province. In Noord-Holland Noord, we have therefore prepared an assessment framework so that important societal developments are prioritized over the energy grid, and supported choices can be made for necessary investments in the grid.

In order to arrive at such an assessment framework, 4 nodes in the region where energy demand, supply and infrastructure meet have been mapped. Here, extra large ‘sockets’ will probably be needed to enable residential and commercial activity. In rural areas, the available network capacity must be used as smartly as possible to also enable economic and spatial development here.

As provinces, municipalities and network operators, we take our responsibility, but we do not go far enough yet. And neither can we. We also need the government to change legislation that stands in the way of realizing smart solutions. In addition, we must give the network operators, the province and the municipalities a clearer role in this matter. If The Hague gives us that space, we as governments and network operators in North Holland will be happy to do everything we can to ensure that sufficient energy is also available in our province in the future!

Edward Stigter, Provincial Director for Climate and Energy, North Holland Province

Leave a Comment