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If solar panels and wind turbines had not been switched off, the Netherlands could have saved 350 million cubic meters of gas in the second quarter of 2024, figures by climate policy platform show. This amount of gas is enough to heat up all The Hague buildings.

As renewable energy production surges, the number of hours with zero or negative electricity prices also increases. The platform reports that, as of July 1, these were already 286. When more electricity than needed is generated – and can’t be exported or stored – prices drop to zero or below. Therefore, electricity producers curtail their production, switching off solar panels and windmills, as the electricity grid can’t handle such output, and they can’t make any money out of it.

Growing surplus

According to models, for every hour with negative or zero prices, an average capacity of 6 gigawatts of renewable electricity is deployed. This means that in the second quarter of 2024, over 1700 GWh of green electricity was lost, which could have been used if more batteries and electrolyzers to convert electricity into hydrogen were in place.

Yet, the amount of “disconnected production capacity” will probably only increase as more wind and solar capacity will be added in the coming years. At the same time, electricity demand is expected to grow not as fast. Exporting sustainable energy will also become less accessible. Foreign countries are also investing in sustainable generation themselves.

Renewable power continues to grow

Renewable energy production also grew in June. It was 9% higher than the same month last year since more wind turbines are connected to the grid than last year. Onshore wind generated 15% more electricity, while offshore 35% more.

Although more solar panels are connected to the grid in 2024, this growth didn’t translate into more energy, as June was less sunny than last year. According to the Dutch Metereologic Institute, June 2024 had an average number of sunshine hours.

Overall, the share of renewable-generated electricity totaled 64% in June—up from 56% last year. Yet, including the curtailing effect, this share drops to around 60%.