If wind farms and solar farms want to share a grid connection (‘cable pooling’), they must make mutual agreements. Because these agreements are complex, a model Cable Pooling agreement has now been drawn up. This model agreement makes it possible for the parties to make sound legal, financial and technical agreements. In this way, more sustainable energy production can be connected to the existing grid. The agreement is now exclusively available to members of the industry associations NWEA (wind), Holland Solar (solar) and Energie Samen (energy cooperatives).
In more and more areas, grid operators indicate that the grid is full and requests for grid connections are rejected. This hinders the required growth of local generation of sustainable energy. We are waiting for grid expansion, but by sharing a connection, more sustainable energy can already be connected to the existing grid. Since 2020, it has been permitted for wind farms and solar farms to share a grid connection (cable pooling). The combination of a wind farm and a solar farm is especially optimal, because the power peaks from wind and sun rarely occur simultaneously. Solar parks under development in particular often have no view of a grid connection and waiting times are long. A solution could be to connect to an existing wind farm. Wind farms are open to this and see the opportunities offered by cable pooling. But at project-financed parks in particular, cable pooling is challenging and shareholders and banks are cautious.
NWEA, Holland Solar and Energie samen, Ventolines have therefore commissioned the drawing up of a model Cable Pooling agreement, in which the parties make agreements to share the grid connection. Many concerns can be alleviated with this agreement. The model agreement is based on the situation that the parties considering sharing a connection start from ‘zero’. In that situation, agreements have to be made about many subjects and for a very long period of time. As far as topics are concerned, this includes planning, contracting with the grid operator and building and managing a common installation for the shared connection. In all of this, the model agreement explicitly takes into account requirements that are important for the financeability of the projects.
Leon Straathof, grid infrastructure advisor at NWEA, Holland Solar and Energie Samen:
“The members of the three industry associations benefit greatly from this model agreement. Now that more is legally possible, we want to make cable pooling an accessible solution that is also suitable for smaller members and non-commercial members. This model agreement is a first step in that direction. In addition, we work together with the network operators to make the knowledge and experience gained about cable pooling widely available. For the time being, the focus is on combining wind and solar, but we are also looking ahead at cable pooling between the production and purchase of green electricity.”
Elisabetta Aarts, director legal services and Rens Savenije, manager system integration at Ventolines:
“We support cable pooling projects throughout the Netherlands. Sharing a grid connection seems simple, but there is a lot involved. The agreement was an important missing piece of the puzzle. But the model agreement is not a fill-in exercise. In practice, appropriate agreements will have to be made in every situation. We expect the model to provide important guidance for this.”