The Zilverackers Bredeschool, which is being built in Veldhoven, is a victim of the overcrowded electricity grid. The building cannot be connected to the grid. As a result, two primary schools and two childcare centers will probably be without power for five to ten years. The municipality is busy looking for an emergency solution: one of the options is a diesel generator.
The new school building in the new Huysackers district will soon have two schools: Dick Bruna and De Brembocht. Two childcare organizations are also moving to the new building. The building will soon have room for almost six hundred children.
The new school building was built sustainably according to the ‘zero on the meter’ principle. The building generates as much energy as it consumes. It has no gas connection, but it does have solar panels and heat pumps. The school does need a heavy power connection, but that is not available for the time being. And while the children could go to the new school building at the beginning of April, that is the plan.
“I am disappointed and shocked.”
At the municipality they are absolutely bummed. “I am disappointed and shocked,” says responsible councilor Mariëlle Giesbertz. “There is a beautiful school here that is almost ready. So many children are waiting to go to school close to home. And that would now be in danger.”
Network manager Enexis confirms the problem. “We cannot connect new, large customers at the moment, because otherwise the reliability and safety of the electricity grid would be jeopardized,” says an Enexis spokesperson. There is still room on the electricity grid for connections with small-scale consumption, such as houses.
“We are looking at battery solutions, diesel-fired boilers or generators.”
The network operator states that the connection for the new school was not submitted too late. “A construction connection was requested in time, but unfortunately there was no more space available at that time to connect the school to the electricity grid.”
Connections to the electricity grid are now allocated in order of registration. So: first come, first served. Supervisory Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) is currently working on new rules that should give priority to social institutions such as schools.
“You may want to distribute something with priority, but if the store is empty, there is little to share.”
The councilor hopes that everything can be done a little faster. She is investigating whether she can legally force Enexis to connect the school as a priority. Until then, the municipality must look for a temporary solution. “These are all kinds of solutions that are not actually appropriate in a sustainable neighborhood like this. We are looking at battery solutions, diesel-fired boilers or generators. Things that you actually don’t want in this place.”
Even if the rules are changed in the school’s favor, it will still be difficult to quickly connect the school building, according to Enexis. “There must be space on the network for this and there is not now. You can want to distribute something with priority, but if the store is empty, that is not possible.”
It will probably take years before it is the school’s turn. “The electricity substation to which the school will be connected will be expanded in 2028. When TenneT’s high-voltage grid is expanded, space will probably become available in the area,” Enexis reports.
“This is yet another disappointment.”
The children are currently still receiving lessons in temporary classrooms next to the new building. Parents who come to pick up the children are disappointed. “A diesel generator does not suit this neighborhood. This is yet another disappointment. We still don’t have a bus or playgrounds here,” says a father.
“There has to be a solution,” says another. “Which one is not so important. As long as the school can open. It is difficult for all those children to go to school somewhere else.”