Performance in the regions
Last year we worked intensively with municipalities on the RES, the heating transition and charging infrastructure. In the coming years, in addition to drawing up plans together, we expect that we will work together more intensively to complete expansion projects faster and also look at the options for prioritisation.
A great deal of work is being done in Liander’s service areas to make the energy network ready for the future. In total, we laid 2,027 kilometres of power cable in 2021 (464 kilometres more compared to 2020 (+30%)). The number of new connections to the power grid increased by 10% to 43,104 compared to 2020. Nevertheless, in all the provinces we are seeing an increase in congestion that is causing a sharp increase in the connection times for large business customers. Liander has plans to achieve more in the coming years. For example, we can eliminate transmission restrictions by using the spare capacity of transformers. In 2021, Liander gave the first 30 customers authorisation to feed in solar energy via the network's ‘emergency capacity’. The total power in this case amounts to 670 megawatts. The challenge here is to identify the solution that best meets the requirements in the region. This means that we must set priorities in this period of capacity scarcity.
In Noord-Holland province, the demand for electricity continues to grow unabated, but the capacity of the network is insufficient in many places. Last year, we issued an advance warning of congestion for two large substations in central Noord-Holland.
To make more capacity available, Liander collaborated with TenneT in various power grid expansion projects in 2021. After a long search, we found a location for a new substation last year and started the zoning plan procedure. We also worked with Schiphol Area Development Company and local businesses and companies to use the available capacity, local generation and storage in an innovative manner to resolve congestion at Schiphol Trade Park. Liander had several other projects in progress or in preparation to resolve congestion problems; e.g., projects in Oterleek, Schagen, De Weel, Wijdewormer, Purmerend and the Zaanstreek area.
The economy in Amsterdam grew faster last year than the municipality and Liander had anticipated in their joint study. As a result, Liander had to announce the first congestion area in Amsterdam in June. The problem spread further during the course of the year and half of the city is now experiencing congestion. This congestion has a huge impact on development within the capital. To address this, the municipality of Amsterdam, the port authority, TenneT and Liander have launched a joint task force to accelerate grid expansion projects and limit the impact of congestion as far as possible.
In 2021, the areas requiring grid expansions and infrastructure locations were identified for the entire city. Construction work for a new substation on Strandeiland also started and new transformers were installed at the Bijlmer Noord and Nieuwe Meer substations. They will be put into operation in 2022. Finally, work also started on the Karperweg substation conversion. While these projects provide additional capacity for the power grid, they will not fully resolve congestion problems. We are therefore also working with the municipality and Amsterdam Port Authority on innovative solutions to minimise the impact of congestion. With regard to the Amsterdam port area, the Port of Amsterdam, Liander and Firan are currently discussing approaches to jointly building a hydrogen distribution network there.
The rapid growth in demand for capacity for both electricity supply and electricity feed-in means that there is little or no capacity left on the grid in large parts of Friesland. In respect of electricity feed-in, Friesland has also been impacted by congestion in the high-voltage grid operated by TenneT since June 2021. We have started a congestion management study to assess electricity demand in the southern and western areas of Leeuwarden. Until this study is completed, we will not be able to meet any additional power demand from new or existing large-scale customers.
Due to its rural character, Friesland is a popular location for developers of solar parks and solar roofs. The demand for electricity also continued to grow, as indicated, for example, by the large number of plans to electrify industrial players. In addition, several thousand new homes are due to be built in Friesland based on current plans. They include the Middelsee district in Leeuwarden, where 3,200 natural gas-free homes are being developed. On Vlieland, we started a pilot project to make smart use of supply and demand in solar energy in relation to the available grid capacity on the island.
In 2021 we worked on expanding several substations, such those as in Oosterwolde, Oudehaske and Drachten. Liander carried out work to increase the capacity of the medium-voltage network around Dokkum. Together with TenneT, we conducted a feasibility study for the construction of a new substation in Leeuwarden-Zuidwest.
A large-scale expansion programme to make the medium-voltage networks in Friesland future-proof has now left the planning stage. NULelie, as this programme is called, was put out to tender in the autumn of 2021. The aim of this programme is to have completely upgraded the Frisian medium-voltage grid by the end of 2025. Together with the provincial authority and municipalities, we have started a process to determine an efficient sequence for the individual expansion projects.
The demand for electricity also continues to grow in the province of Gelderland. Transmission bottlenecks are emerging in more and more places. Particularly in large business parks, we are increasingly unable to meet the rising demand for electricity.
Liander worked on expanding the power grid in various places during 2021. In the Rivierenland region, for example, preparations have been made for expanding stations and we are looking for suitable locations for new stations together with TenneT. In the Achterhoek, we are making major efforts to strengthen the medium-voltage grid. We are also expanding our network in the Arnhem and Nijmegen region to accommodate the projected large-scale construction of new residential housing. We are working on the realisation of a modular electricity substation in Oosterhout and we are in the middle of the land purchase procedure for the construction of a new station in Duiven. We are also looking for a location for a new substation near Berg en Dal.
The conversion work at Barneveld substation is progressing well: a connection has now been established between the Barneveld and Harselaar substations. In addition, we have conducted several studies for the development of 150/20kV stations in Nunspeet and Hattem, and other locations. We are in discussion with the municipality of Harderwijk about a new location for a larger station.
In Flevoland, bottlenecks in the power grid have arisen in many places due to the rapid emergence of sustainable energy generation. Unfortunately, we had to announce that we also expect transmission restrictions at the Zuiderveld substation in November. We are talking to the municipality and provincial authority about a suitable location for a new substation. In addition, TenneT has announced congestion for the Flevopolder.
In 2021, we worked on various projects expanding and increasing capacity. The work at the Zeewolde substation is progressing so well that the expansion is expected to be completed a year early. In addition, we started work at Dronten substation in 2021. The basic design for the Lelystad substation has been completed. Expansion work will start there in 2022. We have started to expand our power grid in Noordoostpolder and Urk: the upgrade for the medium-voltage cables has been put out to tender and we started the preparatory work for two new substations.
In Zuid-Holland, some medium-voltage routes in Alphen aan den Rijn reached maximum capacity in 2021. Our efforts to improve capacity in the region are heavily dependent on a number of expansion projects, including a new regional substation. This substation will be located between Leiden and Alphen aan den Rijn and plays an important role in providing capacity in many municipalities in the coming years.
In Zuid-Holland, the power grid expansion plan assumes the availability of high-temperature heat from Rotterdam for the Leiden region. We have achieved a number of important milestones for this expansion programme. We have obtained zoning plan approval for the new 150 kV substation in the municipality of Zuidplas, and the 50 kV substation in Leimuiden. In Zoeterwoude, agreement was reached and permission granted to build a new station at the Heineken site. In the municipality of Alphen aan den Rijn, work is underway for a 10-kilometre-long 10 kV cable between the Zevenhuizen substation and Alphen Centrum. This will allow us to connect customers waiting in the queue in the Boskoop area. Construction work for the control station has started.
Investments by region
Investments (in € million)
Other (mostly Kenter and Alliander AG)