TenneT maps out superhighway-connected energy hubs with Target Grid

TenneT maps out superhighway-connected energy hubs with Target Grid
Manon von Beek, TenneT’s CEO, presents the initial version of Target Grid, including the associated grid map for 2045, to the Minister for Climate and Energy Policy, Rob Jetten. Image courtesy TenneT.

TenneT has announced its Target Grid, a 2045 grid vision and energy system design from a North West European perspective, mapping power superhighways and energy hubs and placing the North Sea as the main energy source for neighbouring countries.

With Target Grid, the Dutch-German TSO is proposing a network of Direct Current (DC) superhighways and energy hubs, the DC grid (electricity superhighways), and a significantly improved existing Alternating Current (AC) grid.

This combination of energy hubs – connected by the superhighways – aims to ensure that renewable electricity can be transported long distances from the North Sea to consumers and industry and that the electricity grid remains reliable.

Target Grid: A fully configured network

Target Grid is based on the highest electrification scenarios of the Dutch II3050 (Integrated Infrastructure Survey 2030-2050) and the German NEP2023 (Grid Development Plan).

In these scenarios, the Netherlands and large parts of Germany will need a network configured to support a fully renewable energy system, which is sufficiently robust to ensure security of supply.

The Target Grid maps out such a future grid that is capable of meeting society’s growing electricity demand.

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This image of the future electricity grid – with connections over land, at sea and between countries – has, states the TSO, been missing until now.

When it comes to grid efficiency, Target Grid designs the energy system from a North West European perspective, with the North Sea as the main energy source for neighbouring countries.

Electricity production will be connected with immediate use through electricity transport, prioritising conversion over generation and anticipates a market-driven deployment of battery energy storage.

Target Grid map
Target Grid map. Courtesy TenneT

Overcoming challenges

When it comes to grid stability, Germany and the Netherlands are faced with similar challenges.

According to the TenneT,  these include more than a doubling of electricity consumption, five to ten times larger generation capacity, significant levels of required flexibility and, for each country, approximately 70GW of offshore wind renewable energy that has to reach industries and households.

Getting these large volumes of electricity to the right place in the future requires a new approach to realise the high-voltage grid of the future.

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In announcing Target Grid, Manon van Beek, TenneT CEO states: “The world in which we operate as an electricity transmission system operator is rapidly changing. For the first time, on the basis of political objectives for climate neutrality, we have created a view of the energy system for 2045 and the associated electricity grid, Target Grid.

“Our infrastructure is crucial to such a degree that we are putting it in the driver’s seat so to speak, so that TenneT can start working on what is needed on time, rather than ten or fifteen years from now when it is too late. We can no longer afford to work at a defined pace from ‘bottleneck to bottleneck’. For grid development (onshore and offshore) at this scale and in a European context 2030 is tomorrow, 2040 is next week and 2050 is next month.”

Next steps

With the presentation of Target Grid, TenneT is kicking off a dialogue with stakeholders aiming to further develop the plan. Five principles are of importance here:

  1. Development of an unambiguous North Sea country strategy 2050 with clear agreements between the North Sea countries.
  2. Additional location policy to develop demand centres for energy at the right locations.
  3. Timely licensing to develop the energy corridors TenneT has included in Target Grid.
  4. An adjustment of the electricity market model is recommended to facilitate the cross-border exchange of electricity from offshore wind and to properly share the costs for this.
  5. Finally, TenneT sees the supply chain for critical infrastructure components coming under pressure given the high offshore wind ambitions in the world and the limited supply of critical components, availability of (dock)yards, installation vessels and manpower. TenneT recommends a (European) coordinated strategy to ensure sufficient and, through the years, stable supply chain capacity.