Model agreement to make solar and wind share same connection point in the Netherlands


The Netherlands‘ solar energy association, Holland Solar; the wind energy trade body NWEA; and the association of energy cooperatives, Energie Samen, have announced, last week, that they have defined a model agreement to help the owners of large scale wind and solar power assets share the same connection point, in order to avoid current grid capacity issues.

The model agreement was outlined by Dutch consultancy Ventolines B.V. and follows the introduction of new provisions for the sharing of the same connection point issued by the country's government last year. “Solar parks [which are] under development, in particular, often have difficulties in securing a grid connection and waiting times are long,” Holland Solar explained. “A solution could be to connect to an existing wind farm, and wind farm owners are open to this solution.”

It also specified, however, that solar parks built with project financing may be particularly challenging for the proposed model agreement, adding that lenders and investors are still cautious.

The model agreement considers that both the PV and wind plant owners may negotiate the conditions as if they were starting from zero, including planning, contracting with the grid operator, and building and managing a common infrastructure for the shared connection. “For the time being, the focus is on combining wind and sun but we are also looking ahead to connect production and [the] purchase of green electricity,” said network infrastructure advisor Leon Straathof.

Elisabetta Aarts, director for legal services at Ventolines, said the model agreement was not conceived as a fill-in-the-blanks exercise and that it must, rather, be adapted with an holistic approach to the characteristics of each individual project.

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The Netherlands could reach between 38 GW and 125 GW of total installed solar capacity by 2050, according to a recent report by Netbeheer Nederland, the Dutch association of national and regional electricity and gas network operators.

Dutch power company Liander has recently implemented several measures in recent months to increase grid capacity in several Dutch regions afflicted by grid constraints, which are preventing more renewable energy plants from coming online. These include the deployment of two giant transformers and the application of congestion management to a bottleneck in the grid.

In November, Netbeheer Nederland and the Dutch renewable energy associations De Nederlandse Vereniging Duurzame Energie (NVDE) and Holland Solar signed a preliminary agreement to ensure faster and cheaper grid connection of large scale solar power plants to the network.

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