The Dutch Climate Agreement stipulates that, by 2030, at least 35 TWh (terawatt hours) worth of large-scale renewable electricity is expected to be generated onshore. This ambitious goal will be achievable and affordable, provided that existing policies are adjusted and that there is clear focus and direction. With this in mind, Enexis Groep supports the introduction of a transmission indication. In addition, on the occasion of publishing its interim report, the network company also argues for better alignment between the validity period of a decision to grant a renewable energy generation subsidy (in Dutch: SDE-beschikking) and the actual development period of renewable energy projects. While Enexis Netbeheer will shore up the grids where possible and as required, more time will be needed to connect all solar parks.
The goal of 35 TWh set in the Dutch Climate Agreement corresponds to approximately 40,000 soccer fields of solar panels. This may sound like a lot, but – given the solar and wind farms that are currently being considered – Enexis Groep believes that the climate goal for large-scale renewable electricity is achievable. To speed up the process and to keep public costs to a minimum, the existing energy grid must be utilised to its full potential. New grid investments should also become more predictable. That is why Enexis Groep supports the introduction of the ‘transmission indication’ in the grant process, which would make a subsidy contingent on existing grid capacity. The transmission indication should preferably be introduced when renewable energy generation subsidies are granted next in the autumn of 2019.
The network company also insists on better alignment of the validity period of a grant decision and the lead time for finalising a project and connecting it to the grid. This would broaden the subsidy arrangements to include projects that cannot be connected to the grid in the near future due to limited grid capacity and would prevent projects from being removed from waiting lists because the grant decision has expired. What is more, it would also improve the predictability of grid investments.
The Regional Energy Strategies, which are currently being developed, play a significant role in planning investments in the grid. An RES combines data provided by market parties, grid operators and government bodies into a single map, allowing stakeholders to gain a proper understanding of possible locations for generating solar and wind energy. If generation locations are pinpointed early, a grid operator has time to adjust its infrastructure so as to accommodate the required capacity.
Enexis Groep sees a mix of renewable electrons and green molecules as a promising option for keeping the energy supply affordable. Subsidy arrangements need to be structured effectively to facilitate this. Not from the perspective of ‘the more the better’, but with the aim of achieving the 35 TWh agreed in the Climate Agreement and promoting the innovations required in this context, for instance for energy storage and converting electricity into hydrogen. This would allow public money to be used for developing a smart energy mix with solar and wind parks, heat and renewable gases. Given that the current natural gas infrastructure is suitable for the transmission of renewable gases, this would also secure the affordability of the energy supply in the long run.
Electricity grid investments up by more than 20%
The transition to the energy supply of the future calls for major grid investments. In the first half of 2019, DSO Enexis Netbeheer spent € 261 million on the grids, €44 million more than it did in the first half of 2018. Most of this amount, i.e. € 171 million, went towards the electricity grids. This represented a € 35 million increase on last year.
Revenue was up € 20 million, rising to € 738 million; profit for the year landed at € 119 million. The company’s financially robust position (Standard & Poor’s: A+/A-1/Stable; Moody’s: Aa3/P-1/Stable) is a firm foundation for the future.