To bypass the complete power grid, more and more large companies are building a private power grid. According to Michael Roelofs of consulting firm Emmett Green, they can contribute to overloading public networks. But network operators also see practical objections.
Suppose you are a large company and want to expand and for this you need additional power. But there is no space on the network. “Then you have to look at other approaches,” says Mark Beckhouse, energy and climate correspondent. Shibol and Tata Steel are already doing this, building their own power grid to bypass congestion.
Michel Roelofs, co-owner of project development and consulting firm Emmett Green, believes such private networks could contribute to the energy transition. “It was designed because we need green energy and we want to make it more sustainable,” he says. “But many companies that want to do this face network congestion.”
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A private network is very expensive
That’s why Roelofs believes that raising large consumers – because they are the only ones who can afford such a private network – to a different level is a good plan. “This means that an SME that also wants twenty solar panels on its roof does not suffer from the congestion caused by larger parties,” he says.
Therefore private communication is very expensive. Roelofs: ‘It’s interesting from 80 to 100 megawatts. This is much more than the average businessman needs. You have to invest in adapters, cables and switches, and you have to manage and maintain.
A good development in principle, but there are objections nonetheless
Traditional network operators view it with mixed feelings. “They think this is very good in principle,” says energy correspondent Beckman. “They think they should support it.” However, they have some fear. “There are connection points between all of those networks, and they think they might get in trouble if this private network isn’t managed properly.”
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Beckman also points out that the companies that build such private networks rely on the same workforce as network operators. As a result, they in turn lose the ability to expand their networks quickly. Roelofs refutes this. According to him, the requirements for the private network are very limited, which allows them to use the available resources more efficiently.
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