Congestion at the grid


The general expectation in 2013 was that many wind turbines would be built on land (and at sea). The processing of biomass (in power plants) was also subsidized. When it came to solar energy, everyone thought of solar panels on roofs. Large solar parks were still unknown in our country. In that scenario, the adjustment was a clear challenge. The planning and construction of a wind farm went about at the same time as the weighting of the underground network and the construction of above-ground facilities.

In 2016 it changed drastically. The biomass disappeared from the subsidy scheme and wind on land lost it’s support. In the meantime, the subsidy for solar panels doubled (SDE +) and the price fell enormously. This made the construction of large solar parks an attractive business model and all forecasts and scenarios changed.

Today there is too much power available and the network operators do not have sufficient capacity to cope with this. A traffic jam occurs on the network. As a result, congestion limits the amount of electricity that connected parties supplies to the grid and it causes a loss which should actually be a profit.


The network operator is obliged to facilitate transport, unless this cannot reasonably be met. If a network operator says he cannot do this due to demonstrable evidence of physical congestion, they must investigate whether congestion management can be applied. This means that the network manager must offer connected parties a fee to reduce their electricity consumption or production at specific times. If congestion management is not possible, the transport request may be refused. It is important that the network operator does not wrongly reject your request. They must actually go through all the steps carefully and substantiate them.

Since 1 October 2019, the so-called transport indication applies in regions where there are real bottlenecks. Who wants to use the new SDE + subsidies, must be able to submit a transport indication.

Solutions from network operators

“Netbeheer Nederland” works together with the network operators to use network capacity in a smarter way by using other laws and regulations. Energy storage at large-scale solar parks is already being used.

At the beginning of 2019 a pilot was started by Stedin and Tennet called ETPA. This is a trading platform for large and small market parties to trade the production of energy themselves. It is possible to trade on a weekly, daily, weekend, hourly and quarterly basis. This is, for example, interesting for companies with a relatively low usage and supply capacity from around 0.5 MW of electricity. This also means, for example, that the CHP of a grower can be used flexibly.

The results is less expensive and time-consuming investment in the networks. The local overload will be moved to another network area where there is sufficient capacity. A good example of innovation and cooperation to reduce network overload at system level.

The best country

The Netherlands is still far away from the current target, 6.6 percent, but the expectation for 2020 is that the Netherlands can achieve 11.4 percent in renewable energy.

We are not the beste country of Europe but the good news is that there are allready many countries in Europe which are doing very well with their renewable energy. Twelve countries have already achieved their 2020 target in 2018. The EU wants to end up with 20 percent renewable energy. In 2018 we reached allready 18 percent. The requirements were higher for countries such as Sweden, Latvia and Austria. The top six received goals above 30 percent.