28 February 2024, by Simone Jacobs

Stedin, a power grid operator in the Netherlands, has called for municipalities to reduce the strain on the power grid at peak times by turning off public charging points for electric cars from 4pm to 9pm.

20 percent of power grid capacity for public charging points

The grid operator will be investing 8 billion euros to expand the capacity of the power grid in the Netherlands between now and 2030, but according to Stedin CEO, Koen Bogers, it won’t be enough. Of all the capacity Stedin is planning to add to the grid, 20 percent is expected to be used for public charging points in larger urban areas. 

“Particularly in the evening peak, between 4pm and 9pm, and on sunny spring and summer days, the grid is bursting at the seams,” Bogers said in a press release. It’s during these hours when most people come home from work, put their cars on charge and use a variety of electrical appliances, which puts pressure on the power grid and increases the risk of power outages for thousands of households. 

If consumers and businesses adjust their usage of electricity – for instance by reducing car charging during peak times – there will be more capacity on the grid to connect waiting-listed businesses, new-build homes and schools. Stedin estimates that for every charging point switched off during peak times, the grid operator can connect about one more new-build home. 

Less incentive for electric cars in the Netherlands 

Grid operators have already been experimenting with “smart” or “grid-aware charging” in some Dutch cities such as Rotterdam. During these trials, less power is available at public charging stations during peak hours which means electric cars charge at a slower rate. 

The Electric Drivers Association (VER) believes that this is a situation that does not encourage more drivers to switch to electric cars. “These types of calls can have a deterrent effect on motorists who still drive on petrol and are considering purchasing an electric car,” said VER spokesperson Robert van Gent to NOS. “The call comes in addition to the announced abolition of the exemption from motor vehicle tax and the opacity of rates for public charging stations.”

Stedin argues that charging can be done at other times of day when there is a surplus of solar power or when the grid is less used, at noon for example. “In the new sustainable energy system, the Netherlands must choose more clearly what gets priority and what does not,” said Stedin.

Thumb image credit: RossHelen / Shutterstock.com

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