Smart Grid: prerequisite for transition
To achieve the CO2 emission reduction targets, burning fossil fuels must make way for sustainable alternatives. Over the coming decades this will lead to the large-scale electrification of our mobility. On the road, on water and on railways.
While the generation and distribution up until now has always been top down, this will increasingly become decentralised in the future. Through solar panels on a home’s roof, a windmill in a pasture, or by the braking energy generated by a locomotive. To use all of that electricity from different sources, at different volumes and at different times in smart ways, we are building a Smart Grid together.
A Smart Grid has been designed to respond to the new supply and demand dynamic. By storing electricity, for example in batteries or in the form of hydrogen, we can supply the surplus power we produce during slow periods during periods of peak demand. Installing smart switches enables us to operate the power grid on more of a demand basis.
"While the generation and distribution up until now has always been top down, this will increasingly become decentralised in the future"
In our view, the railway grid plays a major role in the creation of a Smart Grid. TenneT’s current main grid has insufficient capacity to process the future demand for electricity. By directly connecting the electricity generated by solar parks to consumers such as tram, train and metro, we can unburden the main grid and distribute power more efficiently.
If a Smart Grid in the future is in fact going to facilitate the energy transition, this will require a major effort. Technical limitations are not the problem. Success in actual practice depends on the effort and decisiveness of all parties involved in the railway environment, ranging from governments and concession holders to concession granting authorities. We contribute by developing a solid business case that demonstrates that the energy transition is not only technically feasible, but it is also profitable.