In the Dutch beach town of Scheveningen, the municipality was reluctant to switch to sustainable heating solutions. The hypothesis was that there would be problems due to the characteristics of the houses and the neighborhood. First, they were unsure of what the best heating solutions would be for those homes, especially in neighborhoods with old, poorly insulated homes with limited space. Furthermore, it is well known that the switch to electric heating solutions increases the pressure on the power grid in winter, and the power grids in Scheveningen as well as in the surrounding areas are already facing congestion problems. And finally, the municipality is anticipating an increase in the installation of solar panels and electric vehicles and needs to plan for that. Our work has been to explore the possibilities for smart solutions to take pressure off the grid and speed up the transition.
This is a Grid Edge Consulting project. We cooperated with the real estate consulting firm Fakton to identify the most appropriate heating solutions for different districts based on the topology of the neighborhood and homes. Based on these models, we created three scenarios for the next 25 years. They range from the lowest impact on the grid (e.g., a heat network or collective heat pumps) to high impact on the grid (all houses are equipped with individual heat pumps and limited insulation measures). Subsequently, based on these scenarios, we projected electricity demand for the entire year, as well as demand at different grid levels (low and medium voltage). We also took into account other electrification measures, such as the increase in solar installations and electric vehicles, to determine peak loads.
When we look at all these scenarios, we come to some interesting conclusions. The biggest bottleneck for the grid in Scheveningen in the future will not be sustainable heating solutions, but the increasing demand for electric vehicle charging.
The primary grid congestion in Scheveningen was the expected peak demand caused by the increase in electric vehicle charging. Due to the strong demand for parking in Scheveningen (and therefore also for charging stations in the future) and the tourist attractiveness of the beach, the network situation will worsen due to the high demand for electric vehicle charging. In addition, we came to the conclusion that the grid and its limitations won’t be significantly impacted by sustainable heating alternatives. While we anticipate that the grid will need to be strengthened at the low-voltage level, at the medium-voltage level, the proliferation of charging stations will likely be the primary driver of development.
Our experience is that simultaneity is low for heating homes with heat pumps (the probability that all of these heat pumps request energy from the grid at the same time) and aggregation of profiles immediately leads to a dampening effect, so we can install smart-grid solutions to prevent this. Therefore, reducing grid pressure does not require smart-grid technologies.