Dutch grid operator expects up to 34 GW of solar by 2030

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Dutch electricity transmission system operator Tennet has considered three future energy scenarios in its 2020-30 development plan.

The most optimistic outlook – dubbed Fundamental for System Integration – foresees wind and solar generation facilities being deployed in the Netherlands much more rapidly than expected under Paris Agreement climate change requirements. Under that scenario, solar is expected to hit 34 GW of installed generation capacity by the end of the decade, with wind amounting to 15 GW.

Electric vehicles and other renewable energy power sources would also be expected to grow significantly, with 3.5 GW of offshore wind facilities to power hydrogen production.

“The additional growth in both electrification and sustainable generation compared to the other scenarios creates an increasing need for flexibility,” the authors of the report wrote. “This will be provided by various market parties, including both large scale industrial consumers and small scale consumers.”

Scenarios

The ‘Alternative Transition’ scenario envisages solar and wind facilities undershooting Paris Agreement requirements, albeit with PV experiencing strong growth by 2025. That outlook predicts a subsequent solar slowdown triggered by the phasing out of net metering after 2023 and a related limit on cost reductions for household, behind-the-meter energy storage systems. The alternative scenario is also predicated on limited growth in electromobility alongside a greater role for wind power and gas.

The third, ‘Climate Agreement’ scenario is based on a big expansion of solar and offshore wind generation, but mentions no figures. That outlook foresees the closure of all thermal power plants by 2030, by which point 1.5 million electric vehicles would be on Dutch roads. Power-to-heat technology would have advanced and heat pumps would be widely used for residential purposes, predicts the report.

The Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency in November said the country’s PV capacity could reach 36 GW by 2030 under its most optimistic scenario. The agency predicted 5 GW of solar generation capacity will have been deployed last year and this, enough to raise Dutch PV capacity to around 9 GW. The agency said even in a worst-case scenario, PV development could hit 18 GW by 2030.

The Dutch government revealed in November it may have to sell off a stake in state-owned Tennet or privatize it altogether, to raise the funds needed to upgrade the electricity network for a renewables-led energy system. Energie-Nederland and lobby groups Holland Solar and the NWEA warned in November around 700 MW of solar and wind capacity could miss out on SDE+ large scale renewables incentives if grid congestion in the northern Netherlands is not addressed.