Problems on the power grid are getting more and more into the residential area. Due to the increase in household energy consumption, the low voltage network must also be repaired. Entire neighborhoods will get new electric cable and transformer homes in the coming years, network company Alliander says in its annual numbers presentation.
Through its subsidiary Liander, the company operates the power grid in (parts of) Friesland, Gelderland, Flevoland, North Holland and South Holland. In those areas, the grid operator has already replaced more than 2,000 homes’ electricity last year and installed thousands of kilometers of new cable.
But this is not enough. In the Liander region alone, 760,000 homes and small businesses now have solar panels on their roofs, hundreds of thousands also have a heat pump and the number of electric vehicles is also growing rapidly in residential areas. So more and more families need heavier electricity connection.
We will use more and more electricity and sustainable generation of electricity is growing steadily. This must also be done in order to meet the CO2 targets. But our power grid is far from ready. What are the problems and is there a solution? We explain it in this video:
voltage on the power grid
“In many places, the residential electricity grid is not yet designed for the speed with which consumers can make their homes more sustainable,” says Martin Otto, Director of Aleander. Therefore, the company is allocating 5 billion euros over the next seven years to, among other things, the installation of new electric homes and the laying of heavier cables.
To date, most of the work has been done on separate streets. But in the coming years, it will become commonplace to dismantle entire neighborhoods. In total, network modifications will be required on one out of three streets over the next 30 years.
Due to the lack of personnel and lack of materials, Liander cannot work everywhere at the same time. As a result, the network is filling up in some areas. “We’re already seeing this in a few places, but we expect that number to increase in the coming years,” says Otto. “In order to best meet the needs of our customers, we therefore choose to fulfill part of the new connections or reinforcements, thus placing a temporary additional load on the network.”
Additional load may cause more voltage problems. The result, for example, is that solar panels can’t feed electricity, lights in a home start to flicker, or—in a few cases—the power goes out in an entire house, street, or even neighborhood.
The network operator points out that homes and small businesses themselves can also help prevent these types of problems. For example, by storing self-generated solar energy. Or using electricity directly, for example, by running the washing machine during the day.
People without solar panels can also help by increasing their consumption throughout the day. Or save electricity wherever possible, for example, by completely turning off appliances and unplugging the kettle or coffee maker from the socket.
“The energy self-guide has never been under such pressure in recent decades as it is now,” says Otto. “This is also increasingly affecting consumers. I realize this is a powerful message.”
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