Sustainability of Amsterdam port and region under pressure due to congestion on electricity network
Port of Amsterdam wants to be a leader in the transition to a sustainable society. The port plays a crucial role in achieving climate objectives by facilitating companies that contribute to them. The companies based in the port are in the middle of a transition to a more sustainable form of business, and are active in the circular economy and energy transition, including the production of biofuels.
With the electrification of our society, the demand for electricity has grown enormously over the past decade, not in the least due to digitalisation and sustainability. This is also reflected in the companies in the port area. Port companies active in the energy transition and circular process industry are also working on making their own operations more sustainable. They are moving away from gas and are electrifying their vehicles and vessels as well as their terminal equipment – such as cranes and shovels. But the greatest demand for electricity is coming from data centres, new buildings and mobility; and this is set to remain so in the coming years.
In the Metropolitan Area (MRA), this congestion will slow down the pace of the energy and raw materials transition. This is bad news for customers with expansion and/or sustainability plans and new customers who want to establish themselves in the port. About fifty port companies are affected by this congestion, leaving them unable to achieve their objectives – or only able to do so later. This is placing major pressure on achieving the climate goals in the port of Amsterdam, the City of Amsterdam and the North Sea Canal Area. The situation is harming the competitive position of the port of Amsterdam and the MRA as a business location.
Solutions to create more capacity
The first structural increase in electricity capacity for companies connected to the Hemweg substation and underlying stations will become available in mid-2027. In the intervening period, Liander, TenneT, the City of Amsterdam and Port of Amsterdam are jointly working on a programme to accelerate work and innovations and to promote temporary solutions. These include large-scale battery up-scaling and peak shaving. Through mutual cooperation between consumers, it may be possible to reduce the peak and suffice with the existing capacity.
We are also working to increase the production and transport capacity of electricity and to accelerate the provision of alternative renewable energy sources. These include the reuse of heat and the use of hydrogen. By developing the infrastructure and facilities for this purpose at an accelerated pace, Port of Amsterdam is working on alternatives to partially relieve the power grid. In addition, Port of Amsterdam is holding talks with a number of large-scale consumers to see to what extent they can coordinate and possibly share their contracted capacity with other port companies.
Priority and creativity
The congestion announced today will not be limited to Amsterdam and the region, as the whole of the Netherlands is expected to face much more congestion in the future. Electricity will be scarce in the coming years and will have a major impact on the sustainability of Dutch society. This is putting pressure on the climate objectives and ambitions, such as making Amsterdam climate neutral by 2050. This congestion requires the highest priority and creativity from energy companies, governments and politicians in order to be resolved. Port of Amsterdam has therefore joined the Taskforce with Liander, TenneT and the City of Amsterdam to tackle the consequences of the flooded electricity network.