Grid congestion: a term that comes up on just about every news medium these days. What is it and more importantly, how do we solve it?

It seems like the ideal world: solar panels on every roof, electric cars in every garage and renewable energy coursing through our veins of innovation. However, this vision of the future collides with a harsh reality: our power grid is creaking under the strain.

Grid congestion, where demand for power reaches peaks that the grid cannot handle, is a growing barrier to both green dreams and economic expansion. As grid operators feverishly search for solutions, the race against the clock to balance sustainability and growth is intensifying.

What is grid congestion?

Grid congestion occurs when the transmission capacity of the power grid is insufficient to meet the demand for power. This is mainly driven by the rapid increase in decentralized generated energy, such as solar and wind power.

These sources of renewable energy, often generated by households and businesses, feed energy back into the grid, leading to fluctuations and peaks that are difficult to manage.

In addition, the growing electrification of our society plays a role. Electric cars, heat pumps and charging stations significantly increase the demand for electricity. All this is taking place against the backdrop of an infrastructure that was designed decades ago and is not designed for this rapidly changing energy demand.

What are the consequences of grid congestion?

The direct effects of grid congestion affect both consumers and businesses. New businesses and households may face delays in connecting to the grid, while existing connected parties may face restrictions in their energy consumption or the feed-in of sustainably generated energy. And that’s not all, the consequences are great.

1. Delaying the energy transition

Grid congestion can slow the transition to renewable energy sources. Despite the availability of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power, limited grid capacity can hinder the uptake and integration of this green energy.

2. Constraints to economic growth

Companies and industries looking to expand or start new projects may be hampered by insufficient grid capacity. This can lead to missed economic opportunities and limitations to growth.

3. Increase in energy costs

When demand exceeds supply, energy prices may rise. This effect can be exacerbated by grid congestion, leading to higher costs for both businesses and consumers.

4. Risks to the reliability of energy supplies.

Grid congestion can lead to unreliable energy supply, resulting in possible power outages or blackouts, especially during peak usage times.

5. Barrier to new connections.

New projects or companies seeking to connect to the network may face delays or even refusals because the existing infrastructure cannot handle the additional load.

6. Impact on sustainability goals

Grid congestion can make it more difficult to achieve national and international sustainable development and carbon reduction goals by limiting the integration of clean energy.

The current state of grid congestion in the Netherlands

Netbeheer Nederland keeps current records of the load on the grid in the capacity map net load. Currently, almost the entire network in the Netherlands is overloaded, both on feed-in and offtake. There are about 9,100 companies on the waiting list for a heavier grid connection.

Capaciteitskaart nederland

Grid congestion in Europe

The European Commission has presented a proposal to use €20 billion from the REPowerEU plan to accelerate the energy transition and reduce dependence on fossil fuels in response to energy supply challenges caused by the situation in Ukraine.

The plan includes investments in renewable energy, the diversification of energy supply and increasing energy efficiency. This is part of the EU’s broader efforts to strengthen energy security and meet climate goals.

The focus is on accelerating the energy transition and improving energy infrastructure, which can indirectly contribute to reducing grid congestion by, for example, increasing the capacity of renewable energy sources and improving energy efficiency.

What are the solutions to grid congestion?

Okay, so we have a problem. Grid congestion requires smart and flexible solutions. And fortunately there are some.

1. Strengthening and expanding the power grid

This, of course, is the most obvious solution. Strengthening and expanding the power grid is necessary to meet growing demand and the integration of renewable energy sources. For this reason, TenneT is investing 1.9 billion euros in strengthening our electricity grid in the coming years.

2. Managing your assets smartly

An effective way for grid congestion management is by smartly managing your energy assets. This involves making intelligent use of available energy sources, such as solar panels and wind turbines, and matching them to current energy consumption.

By better matching supply and demand, peaks in energy consumption can be smoothed out. This requires advanced technologies such as Digital Twins and Smart Grids, which use data analytics and machine learning to optimize energy management.

Tibo Energy Software

3. Energy Storage

Large batteries or other forms of energy storage can be used to store excess energy during times of low demand and release it during peak times. This helps maintain balance on the grid without additional strain.

4. Demand response programs

These are programs where consumers are encouraged or rewarded to match their energy use with grid availability. For example, reducing consumption during peak hours or turning on equipment when there is a surplus of energy.

A recent example of this comes from the municipality of Utrecht, where charging stations are turned off during peak hours. The municipality is even considering turning off all charging stations altogether.

5. Flexible rates

By introducing variable rates that are higher during peak hours and lower during off-peak hours, consumers and businesses are encouraged to shift their energy consumption to times when there is less pressure on the grid.

6. Decentralized energy production

Encouraging local, decentralized energy production reduces dependence on the central grid and makes the system more resilient.

Addressing grid congestion? Use smart software

So grid congestion is a growing problem. Housing construction is at a standstill and businesses cannot expand. Will you line up like 9,100 other people for a heavier connection or will you be smart with your existing connection?

With Tibo Energy software, you step out of the queue and energy management becomes a lot clearer and more efficient. Our software is your co-pilot in the energy world, equipped with the smartest technologies such as Digital Twins and Smart Grids. Thanks to our machine learning techniques, you effortlessly navigate the peaks and valleys of energy consumption. This not only keeps you out of congestion, but also contributes to a more sustainable future.

Our software predicts the most optimal time to deploy your assets, depending on the objectives you formulate. Want to manage grid congestion, reduce your carbon footprint or still save energy costs? With Tibo, you manage your network in a snap.

Want to see how Tibo can optimize your energy consumption and reduce grid congestion while saving costs and reducing your carbon footprint? Request a demo and find out for yourself.

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Laat je gegevens achter en we nemen binnen 24 uur contact met je op om een afspraak te maken.

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