160 companies in Brainport region wait for a connection to the power grid

Power grid
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In the Brainport region, 160 companies are waiting for a new or heavier connection to the power grid. The waiting list has become about three times as long as a year ago.

There was great panic when it was announced last year that Enexis had to shut down the power grid in the region. There was no room for new connections. It led to emergency consultations at a national level.

Calm returned somewhat when it became known that there was room for new connections. That capacity was released because it was agreed with companies to shift part of their power consumption to off-peak times.


The structural problems have certainly not disappeared with this emergency measure, Enexis informed Studio040. In Eindhoven and the surrounding area, there are 160 companies on the waiting list for a new or heavier power connection. As a result, companies cannot expand and start-ups cannot simply open their first factory in the region.

North Brabant-wide, the number is even eight times higher: 1300 companies are on the waiting list for a power connection in the province. In addition, there are just under 2300 power generators such as solar parks in the province that cannot be connected to the power grid. However, capacity is kept free for private individuals and other small users.


Expansion of the power grid is the most important solution, according to Enexis – which manages the medium-voltage grids in the region – and TenneT. The latter deals with the high-voltage networks. Enexis therefore plans to invest 456 million euros in 2023 in upgrading the power grid.

In recent years, Enexis has continuously expanded the capacity of the power grid by approximately 1 gigawatt in the region – this year the capacity will increase by 2 gigawatts. That is equivalent to the use of 600,000 homes with solar panels, according to the network operator.

Catch up

But to be able to provide electricity to everyone in the region again, we have to catch up. That is also being worked on, say the network operators, but it is also a long-term project. The construction of a new high-voltage substation can easily take ten years, says Enexis.

At TenneT they also see that expanding capacity takes a lot of effort. TenneT plans to expand the high-voltage connection between Eindhoven and Maasbracht. The work for this will start next summer and will take two years to complete.


Whether that new high-voltage connection will actually be there in 2026 remains to be seen. The manager of the high-voltage grid sees the necessary challenges. Where new connections or electricity stations have to be realised, there is invariably a lot of bureaucracy involved in the form of zoning plans and permit processes.


Added to this are the problems surrounding nitrogen. “In the province of North Brabant, no permits are currently granted in the event of nitrogen deposition. Not even for the construction of new electricity infrastructure such as power stations and cables and high-voltage lines, while these projects should actually lead to fewer structural emissions.

TenneT is clear about how the problems surrounding the power grid have become so great in a short time. “Some of those companies, which are switching from natural gas to electricity, sometimes demand four times as much electricity as before. Because parties now want to expand their connection en masse or request a new connection to the grid, there is a shortage of space on the power grid.”


Enexis makes the same statement. “Since the end of 2018, we have had capacity problems for large generators of sustainable electricity, such as large solar parks. From 2022 – partly driven by the energy crisis – the electricity grid for large customers filled up at an extremely high rate. We had expected a wave of new applications due to the energy transition, but it turned out to be a tsunami. We were indeed surprised by the speed at which those requests for a new or heavier connection came to us.”


Source: Studio040

For Eindhoven News: Lila Mehrez

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