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Full power grid causes problems across Europe

The power grid is becoming increasingly overloaded in many European countries. Grid operators are struggling to connect wind and solar farms to the grid. Companies applying for a connection often end up on a long waiting list.

The sustainable goals and electrification plans of many companies are too ambitious for the capacity of the power grid. Both customers and suppliers are affected by this. The Netherlands has been a leader in terms of grid problems due to sustainable ambitions. Now, other European countries are now facing the same issues and challenges.

According to FD journalist Pien van Engen, “Problems follow sustainability on the grid.”

All European countries are grappling with their own challenges in delivering renewable electricity to businesses. For instance, in Germany, a significant amount of green energy is generated in the north, around the North Sea. However, many industrial clusters that rely on large amounts of energy are located in the south. The installation of the extremely long power cables required is not centrally regulated in Germany as it is in the Netherlands; instead, it must be coordinated across all German federal states. This highlights the difficulties faced by supply chain partners.

Companies must postpone their sustainability ambitions until there is space on the power grid. Even producers encounter obstacles.

‘Solar or wind farms cannot be connected because too much power is being generated. The system becomes overloaded, leading to these parks being turned off,’ explains Van Engen.

While the Netherlands continues to align ambitions and investments, this is not the case in 19 out of 23 European countries. Significant investments are needed to make the grid resilient to supply and demand. The International Energy Agency recently calculated that approximately 80 million kilometers of new cables are required globally to meet all ambitions.

Europe is a global leader, but according to Van Engen, there is still much work to be done before European countries are fully prepared for a sustainable future. “The EU has estimated that €54 billion in investments is needed. Additionally, the industry is calling for streamlined permit processes.”

Source: bnr.nl