Ingrid Thijssen, CEO of Alliander: “We expect a significant increase in the work on our energy grids over the coming years. Combined with the technical skills shortages we are facing, this will lead to longer lead times for our customers. That is why we are urgently addressing the scarcity of technical staff through recruitment, faster training and smarter deployment. In addition, Alliander focuses on innovation to prevent grid upgrades and the resulting extra work for technicians wherever possible.”

This month, the outlines of the climate commitments to reduce carbon emissions in the Netherlands by 49% in 2030 became visible. To achieve this ambition, our energy system must undergo a radical transformation. The increase in land-based solar fields, wind farms, electric cars and heat pumps will call for major adjustments to the electricity grids. Alliander is embracing technical innovation and new market models to limit the need for grid investments.

We are engaging with a growing number of local authorities and housing associations to contribute knowledge and tools to neighbourhood-by-neighbourhood efforts to disconnect from natural gas and to look at alternative forms of residential heating.

Financial performance

Excluding incidental items, Alliander’s net profit stood at € 125 million in the first half of 2018 (2017: € 94 million). Total operating income for the first half of 2018, excluding the gain on the sale of Allego, increased by € 58 million to € 967 million (2017: € 909 million). Total operating expenses amounted to € 780 million in the first half of 2017 versus € 762 million in 2017.

Investments in grids

In view of the growing demand for new and upgraded connections from customers as well as energy transition activities, the investments are set to rise further. In the first six months of the year, € 302 million was invested in the replacement and expansion of energy grids (2017: € 246 million).

Allego sale

In the first half of 2018, Alliander’s financial performance was strongly influenced by the one-off gain of € 106 million on the sale of Allego. This subsidiary specialises in e-charging solutions and infrastructure for electric transport. Meridiam, a French investment company specialising in sustainable infrastructure projects, has acquired Allego effective from 1 June 2018. This international long-term investor makes an excellent fit with Allego’s activities and perfectly positions the company for its next phase of rapid international growth. Meridiam subscribes to the strategic objectives of Alliander such as smart e-vehicle charging, an innovation that reduces possible peak grid loads and prevents the need for electricity grid upgrades.

Outage duration at customers

The outage duration of the grids increased to 29.3 minutes (year-end 2017: 20.9 minutes). This was mainly due to two large power outages on 19 February in Arnhem and 9 March in Amsterdam, which left large parts of these cities without electricity. Investigations into the exact causes of both power failures and the lessons to be learned are still ongoing.