Enexis faces mega-operation in Eindhoven region

Brabant's power grids to make room
Photo credit: Barrie Taylor, Pixabay

Enexis is facing a huge task around the renewal of the power grid in the Eindhoven region. The waiting list for companies wanting a connection is long and will only get longer shortly. “We have a lot of work ahead of us.”


In Southeast Brabant, including Helmond and Aarle-Rixtel, there are just under six hundred parties waiting for a connection to purchase power. There are also about six hundred parties waiting for a connection to supply power back to the grid.

Minister Micky Adriaansens (Economic Affairs), therefore, called on Enexis to prioritise the Brainport, but Enexis cannot answer that question. “We cannot start shuffling projects without commitment,” it sounded.

In the parliamentary questions that followed, Minister Rob Jetten (Climate and Energy) explained that it was not meant that way; the call to prioritise Brainport was about the longer term. The waiting list, therefore only looks set to grow in the coming years.


Enexis’ 2024 investment plan, for instance, states that the capacity shortfall at the transformer station in Eindhoven North could increase from at most 7 megawatts now to more than 70 megawatts in 2033. This is while there are already 150 applicants waiting for a connection for Eindhoven North.

At other transformer stations in south-east Brabant, the expected shortages are less extreme but could – depending on the various scenarios – still reach dozens of megawatts by 2033. In this respect, demand is still low in 2024, and the region is only at the beginning of the shortages.

Business parks

“Not all applications on the waiting lists are concrete because not every project applied for will also be realised,” says Enexis spokesman Tim van Ham. “But it is likely that companies will be added. The MRE has revealed that another 150 to 250 hectares of industrial land will be added in the area,” said Enexis executive Robert Aerts. “In addition, we know the plans around housing construction in the region, and that task is also large.”

“It’s a lot,” Aerts continued. “The Boschdijk has just been redesigned, but we also have to go back to work there to lay cables and pipes. Meanwhile, we’re still just connecting the housing construction. That won’t be an issue for the time being; in principle, we are keeping space free for housing. That’s fine for now. But if you want to build a flat, my advice is: get in touch with us in time, because you’ll soon be on the waiting list for a year and a half. We can’t say for sure that things will continue to go well in the future either.”

15 years

“It will be a few more years before we can start building major projects,” Van Ham stresses. “We are working with the central government and the province to speed up the duration of projects so that projects can start earlier, but we are not seeing the results of that yet. It will take at least another 10 to 15 years before the capacity shortages are solved and maybe even longer.”

Into the neighborhoods

Aerts: “In all grid areas – high-voltage, medium-voltage, and low-voltage – there are going to be shortages. So we are expanding or adding to the high- and medium-voltage substations, but that also has to be implemented in the residential areas.”

“In Eindhoven, we need to add 1,100 distribution stations in residential areas in the next 20, 25 years. That’s double the current number. About one in three streets will have to be broken up to lay pipes.”

Takes a long time

Then, in the background, a huge shortage of technical staff also plays a role that slows things down, both at Enexis and contractors the grid operator works with. In addition, all necessary interventions are accompanied by lengthy procedures. “Getting the land needed to add or expand a station available is very difficult,” Van Ham believes.

“It takes acres of land for that, and people don’t like having it in their backyard, which is understandable. So it takes a long time to get the right land, and then there is no shovel in the ground. The same goes for smaller stations. If one or more parking spaces have to disappear for that, or a municipal park has to give way, it sometimes takes a long time.”

“We have four big stations in Eindhoven,” Aerts calculates. “Those are all going to expand, but that takes several years. Eindhoven East is the biggest station, which will be completely expanded. The spatial procedures are under way, but before we can start building we are a few years away. There is also a cable link to be laid, and we are working on medium-voltage transmission projects.”

No support

That the grid operator is busy is clear, the question remains: could Enexis not have foreseen the current problems? Van Ham: “For a long time, the moral was: build as little as possible, as late as possible. For a long time, that worked. Ten, 15 years ago, there was simply too little political support for the current projects. But perhaps we should have banged the drum harder to create that support base, in that respect we are also putting our own backs into it.”

“Now we want to axe as much as possible as quickly as possible,” Aerts says. “We made that switch too late. We misjudged the speed at which the transition came. That also has to do with the energy crisis following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. That accelerated everything. After that, the number of applications skyrocketed.”

These projects are listed by Enexis in Eindhoven:

– In the north, the high- and medium-voltage substation will be expanded in 2027. In addition, a whole new substation will be built in 2035.

– In the east of Eindhoven, the high- and medium-voltage substation will be expanded in 2028. The current high/medium voltage transformer will be upgraded in 2025.

– In the west, the transformers will be upgraded this year, and the high- and medium-voltage substation will be expanded in 2027; a new high- and medium-voltage substation will also be built in 2035.

– In the south Eindhoven region, the high- and medium-voltage substation will be expanded in 2028.

For this article, questions were also submitted to Metropolitan Region Eindhoven (MRE), the partnership between 21 municipalities in the region. The MRE represents those municipalities in talks with Enexis. However, the MRE did not want to enter into talks with Studio040 yet.

Source: Studio040.nl

Translated by: Anitha Sevugan


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