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"Need for deployment of batteries at large solar generators increasingly urgent"

Parties producing large-scale renewable energy could apply for an SDE++ subsidy from 28 June to 6 October from the Netherlands Enterprise Agency. To qualify for subsidies, producers need a transmission indication from their grid operator. The number of applications at Liander dropped by almost a quarter compared to 2021, partly because the grid is full in many places.

To still make room for more solar power on the grid, grid operators are calling for adapted regulations to use the grid more efficiently. Including the introduction of attractive time-based contracts to make it more interesting for solar power producers to feed some of their generated power back into the grid during off-peak hours.

A transmission indication indicates that, at the time of application, transmission capacity is or will be available on the electricity grid within the realization period specified for it in the SDE++ scheme. However, the document does not guarantee that the requested transmission capacity will actually be available in the future. This check prevents projects that are not realizable due to scarcity on the electricity grid from being granted subsidies. This prevents as much as possible that subsidy money gets stuck in projects that ultimately cannot contribute to the climate objectives.

Fewer applications
Last year, Liander's online counter received 1,642 applications for a transport indication. That is 22% less than in the last subsidy round. A total of 1,778 megawatts of power were applied for, equivalent to almost 500,000 homes. Liander issued a transport indication for 83% of the applications. This represents a capacity of 1247 megawatts. The number of indications issued decreased by 25% compared to the previous subsidy round. Liander issued the majority of the requested indications to developers of solar meadows and solar roofs. In 7 cases, Liander issued an indication for an application for wind production, and 16 applications concerned biomass.

Electricity grid under further pressure
Wind production also lags far behind solar power in this subsidy round. This puts further pressure on achieving climate targets. In the regional energy regions, Liander continues to draw attention to a good mix of renewable energy generation by wind and solar installations, as this offers great potential benefits. By making system-efficient choices, up to 60% of the required space, time, and money for infrastructure can be saved. The social choice for ever more solar power means that less sustainable energy can be generated in total within the time available. Also, waiting and realization times increase, social costs go up, and grid operators cannot deploy scarce staff for essential work.

Storage to make better use of capacity
The grid operators are working hard on the large-scale expansion of the electricity grid. They are also advocating changes to various laws and regulations to make more efficient use of the electricity grid. Among other things, solar farms and large solar roofs can only be realized together with batteries or directly linked to the consumption of the solar power generated. As producers temporarily store part of the solar power in a battery and feed it back into the grid outside peak demand, grid operators can allow more producers onto the grid and transport more solar power. Among other things, Liander is exploring the possibilities for this in pilots it is conducting with Giga Storage.

More congestion areas
Over 56% of the projects that received a transmission indication from Liander are located in Flevoland, Gelderland, or Friesland. In large parts of these provinces, the electricity grid of TenneT, the operator of the high-voltage grid, has reached its maximum capacity. TenneT is currently investigating whether congestion management is possible here. If that is not the case, there will be room for new initiatives to generate large-scale renewable energy only after TenneT has strengthened the grid. This is expected to take several years. As a result, there is a good chance that an SDE decision obtained cannot be realized, because transport capacity will not be available in time.

13 billion euro subsidy
Since 2016, the Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland (RVO) has been providing subsidies twice a year to producers wishing to generate large-scale renewable energy. From 2021, the RVO reduced the subsidy round to once a year. A maximum of 13 billion euros is available for 2022.

Source: Liander

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