Grid extension in northern Switzerland


Although the grid situation in Switzerland is stable and the supply security is at no concrete risk, the grid operation in the alpine winter is usually strained and challenging for TSC member Swissgrid, the Swiss transmission system operator (TSO). This was especially true of the severe winter of 2015/16 and is one more reason for Swissgrid to accelerate the grid extension in Switzerland according to “Strategic Grid 2025”, the TSO’s ambitious grid modernisation and expansion plan.

An important part of “Strategic Grid 2025” is the upgrade of the electrical substation Beznau in the Swiss Canton of Aargau including a new 380/220 kV transformer. After the Swiss Federal Inspectorate for Heavy Current Installations (“Eidgenössisches Starkstrominspektorat”, ESTI) had approved Swissgrid’s upgrading plans in July 2016, the preparatory work in Beznau started immediately. In November 2016 and January 2017 the transformer was delivered to Beznau in three segments via heavy-duty transport. After some test runs the new transformer has now been put into operation.

The new device – situated on an island in the middle of the river Aare in Beznau and operated by Axpo Power AG – is not intended for operating constantly but as a backup for critical grid situations. Hence it is designed to be activated by Swissgrid on short notice. The transformer supports import capacity in the northern Swiss border region and improves the supply security in metropolitan area of Zurich.

> See Swissgrid press release (html)

Picture: Swissgrid


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Swissgrid transformer

TenneT and Statkraft share wind data


The Norwegian Statkraft Group is Europe’s major generator of renewable energy. Hence, Statkraft is an ideal partner for TSC member TenneT, the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO), to cooperate effectively on the market integration of the renewables. The two companies have agreed to exchange data relating to actual and possible wind power generation.

For the moment, the collaboration is limited to TenneT’s control area in Schleswig-Holstein, the most northern federal state of Germany. Here a considerable amount of wind energy is being produced and wind peak periods often cause bottleneck situations in the grid calling for expensive congestion management measures. Statkraft will provide real-time data from the wind farms thus allowing TenneT to make regional calculations and forecasts on wind feeds, reduce control energy, and improve the congestion management to ensure system security.

Urban Keussen, CEO at TenneT, appraises the cooperation between TenneT and Statkraft “as an important milestone in the digitalisation of the energy industry”. According to Keussen, decentralised and up-to-date data is a significant contribution to “safely and economically operate the transmission grid in respect of a growing share of fluctuating green electricity”. Stefan-Jörg Göbel, Head of Trading & Origination in continental Europe at Statkraft Markets GmbH, complements that “TenneT and Statkraft are pioneering the integration of renewable energies in terms of marketing and grid management.” An extension of the data exchange also to other regions is conceivable in perspective.

> See TenneT press release, in German (html)

Picture: TenneT


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Wind energy

“Open for business” – new entrant from Spain


The city of Malaga in Andalusia in southern Spain promotes itself as a reference for international economic initiatives and projects – its claim: “Open for business”. This slogan fits our new co-worker like a hand in a glove: Malaga-born José García Santiago, who has joined TSCNET Services as a Business Implementation Manager in our Business Development team. He has definitely given proof of openness in business-related matters: José holds a master’s degree in Power System Engineering and has always been looking for international and multicultural working environments to expand his horizons. He has extensive experience in the utility industry as a consultant in many projects across four continents: Europe, America, Africa, and Asia.

TSCNET with its international staff providing services for transmission system operators (TSOs) in 26 European countries might be the perfect next career step for José. “I am fascinated by the idea of being committed to the goal of enhancing the cooperation between Europe’s TSOs”, says José. “The position I was offered allows me to get an insight to all the changes and challenges the sector has to rise to.”

Moving to a new city can also be a daunting experience – not in this case: “I really like the open and international atmosphere of Munich in combination with the unique traditional Bavarian flair,” says José. One of his most famous compatriots in the Bavarian capital, Bayern Munich defensive midfielder Xabi Alonso, admitted in an interview that he loves living in Munich – a good omen for José!


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TSCNET welcomes José Santiago

Agreement for Power Link Island signed


On the occasion of the North Seas Energy Forum in Brussels, Belgium, the transmission system operators (TSOs) and TSC members (Denmark), TenneT TSO B.V. (Netherlands), and TenneT TSO GmbH (Germany) have signed on 23 March a trilateral agreement on the development of the North Sea Wind Power Hub, a large renewable electricity system in the North Sea.

The signing ceremony with Mel Kroon, CEO of TenneT, and Torben Glar Nielsen, CTO of, was also attended by Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of the Energy Union. The concept of the visionary hub project is double-sided. It is conceived as a large junction for thousands of offshore wind turbines and as an interconnector between the energy markets of the North Sea riparian states. The artificial Power Link Island is the core element of the system whose potential is impressive: Up to 100m Europeans might be supplied with renewable energy by 2050.

The partner TSOs are eager to expand their cooperation to a European multi-party consortium. Mel Kroon considers the common efforts of TenneT and as “invitation to TSOs from North Sea countries” and comments: “The ultimate goal is to build a solid coalition of companies that will make the European energy transition feasible and affordable.” Torben Glar Nielsen lays emphasis on the challenges and potentialities of Power Link Island. It may sound “like a science fiction project”, but might turn out as a “very efficient and affordable way for the North Sea countries to meet the future demand for more renewable electricity”.

> See press release (html)
> See TenneT press release (html)

Picture: Screenshot from the video “North Sea Island TenneT” (YouTube)


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Power Link Island

Off to a new challenge – TSCNET bids Maron goodbye


Welcoming a new employee is definitely a much more enjoyable experience than saying goodbye to one, especially after a long and friendly cooperation. Yet, at TSCNET we know that, especially for our young employees, new challenges are the best way to progress. This time we are keeping our fingers crossed for Maron Gebeyehu!

As the TSCNET Office Assistant for the last 1.5 years, Maron played a central role in maintaining the friendly atmosphere of every-day office life, both as a professional host and a versatile support for our guests and the TSCNET team. Now, she has decided to part with the company with the aim of focusing on her studies and exploring the possibilities of her professional future.

“It feels like yesterday that I started working at TSCNET, and it amazes me how many things I could learn in such a short period of time,” says Maron. “Since the very beginning, I was given all the support necessary to develop myself in many different ways.” Now, Maron is preparing herself for new, exciting challenges, but she is also leaving the company with some emotion and a few parting words for her colleagues: “I will miss the great office culture and environment that let me enjoy my work and the time spent here. All I can say is: Thank you for everything!”

The gratitude remains on both sides: Daan Belgers, Head of Finance & Organisation, also has some words to share: “I thank Maron for her commitment and the work done at TSCNET. All the best and good luck with your new challenges ahead!”


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TSCNET employee Maron

Conference on EU Network Codes in May


Last week, the EU member states have approved the Balancing Guideline, the last of eight Network Codes. These Codes are regulations in order to facilitate the integration and coordination of European energy markets and systems. The Balancing Guideline, for instance, defines rules for competitive cross-border trading and balancing. With all network codes being approved, Laurent Schmitt, Secretary General of the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E), has reason to be satisfied with the achievements so far, but he also points to the ambitious task of implementing “these innovative regulations ‘made-in-Europe'” that “pave the way to the active customer & renewables’ era”.

ENTSO-E organises in close cooperation with the European Commsion, the European Agency for Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER), and the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Gas (ENTSO-G) a conference and reception on the Network Codes in Brussels, Belgium. The reception will take place in the evening of 3 May and will be attended by Miguel Arias Cañete, European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy. The conference on the following day will provide an opportunity to celebrate the present achievements, discuss all questions related to Network Codes, and to consider the challenges of implementation. The thirteen TSC member transmission system operators (TSOs) are also member companies of ENTSO-E.

> See ENTSO-E press release (html)

> See ENTSO-E event announcement (html)

Picture: European Union, EC-Audiovisual Service (Photo: Alain Schroeder)


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Power transmission grid

Polish-Japanese smart grid cooperation


Under supervision of the national Ministry of Energy, TSC member PSE, the Polish transmission system operator (TSO), is participating in a Polish-Japanese smart grid demonstration project. The Polish partners of PSE in this binational joint effort are distribution system operator Energa Operator and the generation company Energa wytwarzanie. Japanese representatives include Hitachi, Hitachi Chemical, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, and the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO).

The Ministry of Energy of Poland and NEDO concluded a memorandum of understanding on 14 March. The other partners have signed individual entrustment agreements among each other or have announced to do so soon. The overall objective of the smart grid project is the maintenance of system security in view of the increasing share of renewables within the Polish electricity transmission system. Concrete research activities cover two main fields: A special protection scheme to prevent grid overload and a hybrid battery energy storage system. The research will be accompanied by the conception of related business models.

> Open PSE press release (pdf, 473kb)


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Warzaw, Poland

Amprion starts new high-precision cabling


In cooperation with Herrenknecht, the worldwide market leader for tunnel boring machines, and RWTH Aachen University, TSC member Amprion, one of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs), examines a new drilling method for the trenchless laying of extra-high voltage underground cables. The so called E-Power Pipe method is destined to accelerate underground cabling procedures on sections up to one kilometre length without compromising on the precision. E-Power Pipe is actually being put to the test on a construction site in Borken in the far west of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.

Amprion is the first of the German TSOs to implement earth cabling on subsections of extra-high voltage alternate current lines, in particular on three short sections of the 380kV line between Wesel and Meppen. The new drilling method is a combination and an improvement of well-established drilling technologies. Ludger Meier, Head of Operation and Project Planning at Amprion, considers the first results in Borken promising, but yet improvable. “As soon as the technology works smoothly, it complements our toolbox for cable laying.”

The new method involves various control and navigation systems, therefore allowing high-precision drilling. Marc Peters, Director Business Division Energy at Herrenknecht, explains the specific advantages and possibilities of use. Above all, E-Power Pipe is suitable for cabling “under existing infrastructures such as pipelines, roads, railways or smaller waterways”.

> See Amprion press release, in German (html)

Picture: Herrenknecht AG


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E-Power Pipe by Herrenknecht

Danes heading towards a sustainable future


Innovation and cooperation are the keywords in the Annual Report 2016 of TSC member The national Danish electricity and gas transmission system operator (TSO) is keeping up its proactive efforts to further increase the share of renewable energy within its own control area – while maintaining the high level of security supply – and to promote the energy integration on a European level by means of cross-border collaborations.

An example for the latter is the establishment of Nordic Regional Security Coordinator (RSC), a cooperation of the Nordic TSOs similar to TSCNET Services. The RSC is located in Copenhagen and managed by To foster transnational electricity trading, interconnections to Germany, the Netherlands or the UK have been built, promoted, or investigated. These endeavours have been augmented by the implementation of an upgraded DataHub and procedures for a newly conceived wholesale electricity market model involving 130 market players.

Also in financial terms, 2016 has been satisfactory for The revenue of DKK13bn (about €1.75bn) is in line with the expectations. On this solid foundation, will continue working on the framework for a sustainable energy future.

> See press release (html)


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Energinet Annual Report 2016

MAVIR copes with record consumption


The remarkably cold Central European winter of 2016/17 turned out to be a great challenge for TSC member MAVIR, the Hungarian transmission system operator (TSO). Never in the history of electric power in Hungary was the overall demand for electricity as high as in the last winter season. In January, the total electricity consumption reached an all-time peak of 4271GWh.

The Hungarian TSO met the ambitious challenges in a sovereign manner. Zoltán Tihanyi, Deputy CEO for System Operation and Intersystem Cooperation at MAVIR, emphasised that in spite of the transmission system being exposed to high and persistent loads, the security of electricity supply in Hungary has never been at risk.

> Open MAVIR press release (pdf, 270kb)


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MAVIR record power consumption in Hungary