Almost everyone is a fan of green energy. Green energy is good for the planet and also cheap. But our current energy grid is a bit like the iPhone 1: it can't handle the rapid growth of apps (read: renewable energy). The result: grid congestion. Grid congestion is one of many barriers to renewable energy integration, which we explain in this blog. And we also provide a solution that deals with all 6 obstacles.

Let’s take the bull by the horns: we need to switch to renewable energy. Sun, wind, and water offer us clean, endless sources of energy that help reduce CO2 emissions and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.

But this transition is not without controversy. While the intent is there, we encounter some significant barriers to the full integration of these green energy sources into our electricity grid.

How do we navigate through these challenges to realize that future? In this article, we dive deeper into the biggest barriers to renewable energy integration and explore what it will take to overcome them.

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6 hurdles in the integration of renewable energy

We want to, but actually making it sustainable turns out to be a second thing. Below we list the biggest barriers to renewable energy integration.

1. Capacity limits

You have a giant garden hose and you want to run as much water through it as possible. But at some point you’re at your max; you just can’t get more water through.

This is also how it works with our power grid. There is only so much “room” for electricity. So if we all want to send our sustainably generated power into the grid at the same time (because yes, sunny days wait for no one), the grid says, “Ho, stop, more won’t fit!”

This is exactly what we mean by capacity limits. And so now we’re regularly up against that, which makes it pretty difficult to put all that clean, green energy to good use.

In addition, everyone also has a maximum contracted capacity, which means that companies are not allowed to use or supply more power than previously agreed upon. This makes it even more challenging to effectively manage the peaks in renewable energy production.

This is intended to ensure that the garden hose does not fill up. Because unlike a garden stake that just doesn’t water anymore, the power grid does – but transformer houses and distribution stations blow out and we get blackouts.

Concluded: the disadvantage of maximum contracted power is that it is static, whereas the need is so dynamic.

2. Variability and unpredictability

Nothing is as changeable as the weather. One minute the sun is shining, the next it is raining. So it is with solar and wind energy: great that we have these natural resources, but they are not always predictable.

This variability means that the supply of energy can fluctuate greatly: lots of sun or wind means lots of energy, little sun or wind means little energy.

This makes it challenging for the power grid to maintain the balance between supply and demand. Too much power generated cannot always be stored or used immediately, exacerbating grid congestion.

At times when everyone wants to feed solar energy back into the grid at the same time, the grid simply cannot handle that amount. And if a cloud suddenly passes in front of the sun or the wind dies down, the very thing that can cause a shortage.

So you need a flexible system that can play high-level chess between weather conditions, market prices, temperature influences and market rates. And we can give away: that will be quite a complex game.

3. Investment and infrastructure

The network set up by our parents and grandparents was not designed for the sustainable revolution we are now experiencing. We want to use solar and wind power en masse, but the grid can’t handle the influx of all that green energy without serious upgrades.

The problem? Those necessary investments in the network and related infrastructure are not getting off the ground as quickly as we would like. Expanding or adding weight to the grid is a costly and time-consuming undertaking. Specifically, we are still talking about at least 10 years.

So that means the energy transition will take 10 years longer. Because without the right “pathways” for our green energy, we will remain stuck in old patterns and miss the opportunity to fully transition to clean, renewable energy sources.

4. Regulations and policies

The road to a green future is littered with bureaucratic bumps. Regulations and policies once created to stabilize the energy market are now working against us.

Legal frameworks are not evolving fast enough to keep up with rapid developments in renewable energy technologies and impose restrictions that slow the rollout of renewable energy projects.

An important aspect is network access. Laws and regulations surrounding the distribution and transmission of electricity are often designed around a centrally controlled system, with little regard for the decentralized nature of renewable energy generation.

In addition, strict safety and quality standards limit the ability to rapidly implement new technologies that can improve network efficiency.

In addition to the general challenges posed by regulation and policy, the Netherlands is specifically at a tipping point with the new energy legislation enabling energy hubs. This legislation, which opens the door to sharing grid capacity and promoting local energy communities, promises to be a gamechanger in the fight against grid congestion.

We need a new law around the physical infrastructure for energy hubs, but also need clear rules around ownership, management and distribution of generated energy within these hubs. And for that you need close cooperation between policymakers, grid operators and energy hub participants.

Energy law and energy hubs are a promising route to alleviating grid congestion and accelerating the energy transition. However, its success depends heavily on how smoothly these new regulations can be integrated into the existing energy system and how quickly stakeholders can adapt to this new way of distributing and consuming energy.

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5. Market dynamics

The energy market is a complex web of supply and demand, where price volatility and trading mechanisms play a crucial role in the decisions of producers and consumers of energy. For renewable energy sources such as solar and wind, which are variable by nature, these market dynamics can be both an incentive and a barrier.

On the one hand, high energy prices can stimulate the development of renewable energy projects by increasing the return on investment. On the other hand, low fossil fuel prices may make the switch to renewable sources less attractive.

Moreover, trading mechanisms such as energy capacity trading and imbalance markets allow parties to take advantage of variability in energy production and consumption.

For this, though, you will need advanced forecasting and planning, an approach that technology like machine learning and AI can help with. Smartly forecasting energy consumption and production and responding to energy prices and trading mechanisms will enable flexible and efficient responses to market dynamics.

This makes it easier to successfully integrate renewable energy into our power grid, something in which modern energy management systems play a key role.

6. Technology

There are also a few technological bumps in the road. Thus, batteries are often referred to as the holy grail. We don’t quite agree with that. For starters, batteries are far from optimally matched to the fluctuating nature of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind.

Moreover, the undirected deployment of batteries, without coordination or smart control, can lead to undesirable peak loads on the grid. For example, batteries that charge during times of low energy prices, but not necessarily at times of low grid load, may contribute to grid congestion rather than alleviate it.

Another important issue is that the capacity and efficiency of existing battery storage systems are not yet always sufficient to contribute to balancing supply and demand in the energy grid on a large scale. This limits its effectiveness as a tool to reduce grid congestion and promote renewable energy integration.

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This is how we can maximize renewable energy

In the pursuit of a more sustainable future, the integration of renewable energy plays a crucial role. But how do we ensure that our energy grid is ready for this green revolution? We do have an idea about that.

Dynamic balance finding

A key aspect is finding a dynamic balance between supply and demand. This is not an easy task given the inherent variability of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind.

Tibo Energy software approaches this problem with an innovative blend of predictive analytics and real-time data, enabling us to better align energy production and consumption. By intelligently managing energy flow, we facilitate a more seamless integration of green power into our daily lives without overloading the grid.

Smart technology as the backbone

Our technology uses advanced algorithms and machine learning, making it the backbone of this balance.

Our software makes real-time decisions based on a wide range of variables – from weather forecasts and energy prices to user behavior. This not only ensures more efficient utilization of renewable energy sources but also helps reduce grid congestion and optimize energy costs for the end user.

Collaboration and energy sharing

If we want to use more renewable energy, we will have to work well together. We see a great future in energy sharing – even if there is no legislation now. In this way, peaks in energy production and consumption can be better accommodated and we will have a more stable and sustainable energy grid.

The future is now

The future of renewable energy is not just a matter of installing more solar panels and wind turbines. It requires an intelligent approach to effectively integrate this green energy into our existing energy grid. Tibo Energy is at the forefront of this movement, armed with the technology and knowledge to enable a sustainable energy future.

Our mission is clear: by leveraging smart technologies and innovative models of collaboration, we are committed to a future where renewable energy is not only possible, but practical and beneficial for all. Want to learn more about how we do this and what it can do for you? Contact us for a demo of our software and join the energy revolution.

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