Giant transformers for grid debottlenecking

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Dutch power company Liander has installed two giant transformers to increase grid capacity in Gelderland province, one of the regions afflicted by grid constraints which are preventing more renewable energy plants from coming online.

“We are expanding the electricity distribution station in Ulft in several steps so that the grid will have more capacity in 2021,” said Joël van Tiem, who is responsible for Liander’s operations in the area. “Now we have placed two transformers with a capacity of 40 MVA each and we can install the cables.”

Van Tiem said the new transformers would enable more wind power plants to be connected to the grid.

Solutions

Liander recently announced it was applying congestion management to a bottleneck in the grid jeopardizing the deployment of large scale solar plants which have been incentivized under the national SDE+ program. Congestion management is a system embedded in the grid code which enables the distribution of grid transmission capacity ‘fairly and efficiently for all customers and power producers’ if there is insufficient capacity in a specific part of the grid.

In early February, transmission system operator Enexis said it was ramping up grid capacity by 1 GW with 11 mobile, medium voltage substations. The first units are expected to be operational this year with all 11 planned for the provinces of Groningen, Drenthe, and Overijssel, the regions worst affected by grid bottlenecks.

In late January, Liander and Enexis said there was limited capacity available for renewables projects – mainly large scale solar – in parts of those northeastern provinces.

Liander expects to have around 6 GW of solar capacity on its grid by 2023.