Blog 25/10/2023

The energy transition across borders 

What is happening abroad with the realization of the energy transition? 

It doesn't happen every day: getting a podium at Solarplaza Portugal. That's why Gerke Schaap - Project Manager Storage, tells more about this interesting and educational experience. He zooms in on the differences and similarities of the international solar sector.  

"Participation in Solarplaza Portugal in Lisbon. With ten minutes telling about our hybrid solar farm Bontepolder, with battery. That was a very interesting and instructive experience. It is good to learn to place the energy transition - which we are working hard on in the Netherlands, also in an international context. And it's a nice step for Novar to work on visibility internationally and gain new connections." 

It is important to place energy transition in an international context as well.
Gerke Schaap | Project Manager Storage

The same challenges 

"There are important similarities between the Netherlands and Portugal when you look at the challenges of rolling out solar power. Resistance to initiatives and grid congestion are two factors that we know all too well and that also play a role in Portugal. Which fortunately does not stop developers in both countries from continuing to work very hard on the energy transition." 


"Portugal is less advanced with the rollout of solar PV. Grid congestion is therefore currently playing a lesser role than in the Netherlands. And energy storage is also more often mentioned in a side sentence as a result, rather than seen as an urgent addition. It seems that this is changing: Portugal has raised its ambitions for solar PV and expects to show strong growth in the coming years." 

"Another important difference with the Netherlands and one of the possible reasons why solar energy is not as big in Portugal is the permitting process. The separation we have in the Netherlands of a competent regional authority - or municipalities, seems to be less defined in Portugal. Viewed through a Dutch lens. In the Netherlands, municipalities grant permits for solar PV or storage projects. In addition, here we have the grid operators who handle non-discriminatory requests for grid connections." 

"Portugal does this differently. It has the government body "Directorate General of Energy and Geology," which handles permit applications at the national level. And has to approve or deny applications for grid connections. This body has a huge backlog of applications. It is even said that applications for connections for large-scale solar PV have been routinely denied for years. On a positive note, it does appear that your chances of a successful application are increased if energy storage is part of your application." 


"Perhaps Novar's experience in integrating solar parks and batteries could be of interest to developers in Portugal. In any case, concepts applied at Bontepolder such as "MLOEA" and the new type of flex contract with the grid operator have already led to interesting discussions with a number of experts from the Portuguese market. Differences or not, in the end we all face the same challenge: a sustainable energy supply." 

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