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ACM: green light for investment plans for land-based grids

Dutch transmission system operator TenneT has sufficiently adjusted its investment plans for the land-based high-voltage grids. TenneT and Liander (the owner of the high-voltage grid operated by TenneT in the Randmeren region in central Netherlands) are now able to finalize these investment plans. This is the conclusion of the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) following its assessment of the adjusted investment plans concerning the land-based grids operated by TenneT.

Since 2020, ACM assesses the investment plans that system operators are required to draw up every two years. In these investment plans of system operators, it is explained what investments in the networks are necessary over the next ten years in order to meet the rapidly growing demand for capacity from consumers and businesses.

Manon Leijten, Member of the Board of ACM, explains: ‘We see more and more congestion on the grid in spite of all the efforts of system operators to increase transport capacity as quickly as possible. That is why it is important that, in their investment plans, system operators clearly indicate what the obstacles are, and when they will be solved’.

In March 2022, ACM announced that the system operators’ investment plans revealed that harder choices are needed in order to meet the objectives of the energy transition. In addition, ACM imposed so-called binding instructions of conduct on TenneT and distribution system operator Liander (owner of the grid operated by TenneT in the Randmeren region). TenneT and Liander had to adjust their investment plans. One of the reasons was that it was not clear from the investment plans for high-voltage grids how the system operator determined which obstacles would be solved first and which would be solved later. ACM has now assessed the adjusted investment plans, and is of the opinion that these have been sufficiently adjusted. TenneT and Liander can now finalize their investment plans.

ACM comes to the conclusion that, in 2022, system operators made significant improvements with their investment plans compared with 2020. However, for the investment plans for 2024, ACM believes that there is still room for improvement. System operators could, for example, increase the involvement of stakeholders in the preparation of investment plans. ACM also expects several system operators to offer more insight into their decision-making processes, for example with regard to the causes and effects of delays, as well as the substantiations of their prioritization decisions. Since system operators are already working on investment plans for 2024-2033, ACM has also called on the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy (EZK) to publish, this fall, the prioritization framework with which system operators can determine which projects are carried out sooner and which are carried out later.

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