In 2018, ENTSO-E calls for Basel! This year’s regional conference of the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity on 18 April 2018 is devoted to the Alpine region. Geographically, the Alps separate southern Europe from central Europe, but with regard to the integration of the European electricity system, the region does not play a separating, but a unifying role.
It was the “Star of Laufenburg”, the first interconnection of the German, French, and Swiss electricity grids, that marked the birth of the integrated network operation in Europe in 1958. The Laufenburg substation in the Swiss canton of Aargau is still one of the largest substations in Europe, which connects electrical networks of several countries. And even before that, the Alps have set the scene for yet another milestone in the history of electricity: In 1929, the world’s oldest interconnection for electric current, the so-called “North-South Powerline” (also known as “Rheinlandleitung” in German speaking countries), was completed. The historical power line linked the Alpine hydro-reserves with the industrial coal areas in the German Ruhr district over a length of 600km.
But also and specifically with an eye on the future, there are many good reasons for ENTSO-E to go alpine. Among the topics of the “Alpine Power Links” conference, that takes place in the northern Swiss city of Basel, are the region’s possible contributions to the power market integration or a training on network codes. Seven transmission system operators (TSOs) with control areas located at least partially in alpine regions participate in the event. Four of these are shareholders of TSCNET: APG from Austria, ELES from Slovenia, Swissgrid from Switzerland, and two of the four German TSOs, Amprion and TransnetBW.