Dutch utility Liander expects 6 GW of solar on its turf by 2023

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Dutch power and gas provider Liander – which serves the provinces of Gelderland and Noord-Holland and parts of Flevoland, Friesland and Zuid-Holland – says it expects strong PV growth in the next five years, and is taking measures to ensure it will be sustainable.

“A scenario that we are considering is that over the next five years the capacity of solar energy in Liander’s service area will grow to 6 GW, which is six times more than that currently connected to the grid,” said the utility.

Liander also says it is ensuring critical areas with strong solar development have enough redundancy in generation, transmission and distribution capacity. “In concrete terms, this means that extra cables and installations are available, so that in the event of a breakdown, the transmission of electricity can be repaired more quickly and maintenance of the grid is possible without large groups of customers remaining without electricity,” added the power company.

The utility said customers that are also power producers may be connected faster, as they can now opt to be temporarily switched off in case of a malfunction or maintenance. The utility has calculated PV systems ranging in size from 0.16-2 MW are interrupted annually for only 1% of their time of operation as a result of network breakdown or maintenance. “Smarter dealing with redundancy is one of the possible measures to facilitate the rapid growth of sustainable production, and in particular solar energy,” the utility said.

Local energy auctions

Liander’s parent company, Alliander, has announced an €844 million plan to improve its power network. It said solar capacity in Liander’s service area grew by around 77% last year, and wind and solar are now providing power to more than a million households. The company added, it is working on the organization of local energy auctions to better match supply and demand.

That the Netherlands may face challenges integrating larger volumes of renewables was highlighted last week, when Dutch transmission system operators TenneT and Enexis said there is very limited capacity for more solar in the provinces of Groningen, Drenthe and Overijssel. On the other hand, the country is expected to reach 6 GW by 2020, and 20 GW by 2035, according to a recent report by Dutch research institute the Energieonderzoek Centrum Nederland.

The nation currently has around 4 GW of deployed PV power.