EC calls for further PCIs

22.03.2019

Under the “Connecting Europe Facility” (CEF) Energy Work Programme, the European Commission (EC) is providing a further €750m to finance Projects of Common Interest (PCIs) in the energy sector, which of course includes electricity and smart grid projects. In addition to the objective of increasing competitiveness, the EC aims to promote pan-European security of supply and sustainable, environment-friendly grid development.

Since 20 March, the EC is calling for proposals for projects focusing, for example, on market integration, interoperability of networks across borders, integration of renewable energies or the elimination of bottlenecks as well as energy isolation. The deadline for project submissions is 13 June 2019, and a virtual information day for all interested parties will be held on 19 April.

In the framework of the CEF programme, the EC calls for proposals for PCIs contributing to the objectives of the European Energy Union (picture: EC-Audiovisual Service / Etienne Ansotte)

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> See EC press release (html, with access to all the relevant documents)

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News from PCI Energy Days

20.03.2019

The PCI Energy Days, organised by the European Commission (EC), offer promoters of European Projects of Common Interest (PCIs) the opportunity to present their projects and exchange experiences on how to build a future-proof and environmentally friendly energy infrastructure with innovative concepts. The inaugural PCI Energy Days took place on 19 and 20 March 2019 in the Belgian capital of Brussels and featured a policy conference as well as an exhibition on the practical implementation of specific PCIs. Among the attendees were the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSOE), the three transmission system operators (TSO) and TSCNET shareholders ELES from Slovenia, HOPS from Croatia and the Dutch-German company TenneT.

ELES took the opportunity to present in cooperation with HOPS the Croatian-Slovenian smart grid project SINCRO.GRID. Coordinated by ELES, SINCRO.GRID comprises in addition to the TSOs also two distribution system operators (DSOs) from both countries. The aim of the cross-border project is to optimise the efficiency of the respective national power transmission systems using advanced technologies and innovative data processing methods.

The Renewables Grid Initiative (RGI), an association of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and TSOs from all over Europe, was also present at the PCI Energy Days to celebrate the signing of the Marine Grid Declaration. The Declaration sets out principles for grid development in the marine environment, such as promoting early mutual communication with stakeholders, adequate protection of the marine environment and knowledge sharing. The RGI members, which include the TSCNET shareholders 50Hertz, Amprion, HOPS, Swissgrid and TenneT, recognise the cooperation between TSO and NGOs as a highly promising approach to building a sustainable marine grid infrastructure. The signatories to the Declaration commit themselves to developing marine projects in accordance with nature conservation principles and early stakeholder involvement. The Marine Grid Declaration builds on the principles previously agreed in RGI’s European Grid Declaration. If you are interested, you can still sign both declarations. In this case, please contact the RGI.

From 19 to 20 March, the inaugural EC PCI Energy Days were held in Brussels, Belgium (picture: RGI)

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> See ELES press release (html)
> See RGI press release (html)
> Open Marine Grid Declaration (pdf, 926,8kB)

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First capacity offers on WindNODE platform

17.03.2019

Today’s energy market, with its ever-increasing share of volatile quantities of electricity from renewable sources, demands optimum capacity utilisation and systematic use of flexibility – already now and even more so in the future. To be well prepared for the challenges ahead, more than 70 partners from all over eastern Germany are working on the WindNODE project, including TSCNET shareholder 50Hertz, the German transmission system operator (TSO) responsible for the region. A core component of WindNODE is the flexibility platform, through which regional producers, consumers, and storage operators offer TSOs and distribution system operators (DSOs) flexible use of their facilities. This is intended to reduce the throttling of wind turbines in the event of grid bottlenecks.

The WindNODE flexibility platform has been in trial operation since November 2018. On 14 March 2019, capacities were offered and called up for the first time. “This means that the trial operation is now entering the practical phase and we can demonstrate that the integration of numerous producers, storage facilities and consumers in one market environment leads to less throttling of renewables – especially now in a very windy season,” explains Georg Meyer-Braune, project manager WindNODE at 50Hertz. The test phase of the platform will last until summer 2019 and processes will be gradually established at further partners, who will thus become potential suppliers. The platform will then be in continuous operation until the end of the project term in 2020. The aim is to use the dedicated facilities for congestion management also after the completion of the WindNODE project.

The first capacities have been offered and called up on the WindNODE flexibility platform (illustration using a screenshot taken from video “Die WindNODE-Flexibilitätsplattform erklärt”, 50Hertz – YouTube)

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> See 50Hertz press release, in German (html)

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Preparations for market inclusion of COBRAcable

15.03.2019

COBRAcable will be the first direct link between the electricity markets of Denmark and the Netherlands. It is a joint project of the two transmission system operators (TSOs) and TSCNET shareholders Energinet from Denmark and TenneT, the Dutch-German TSO. By increasing the exchange of surplus wind energy, the DC interconnector is to improve the cohesion of the European transmission system and the integration of the electricity market. COBRAcable also makes a sustainable contribution to the low-carbon energy future by providing the opportunity to hook up future North Sea offshore wind farms to the connection. The entire cable route comprises 329km, of which 307km are offshore and 22km onshore. Since two cables are laid in parallel, the total length of the cables is 658km.

COBRAcable reached the Dutch shore at the Eemshaven connection point in November 2018 and will be commissioned this year. Now the two TSOs are preparing the commercial operation of COBRAcable scheduled for the third quarter of 2019. The concrete measures are the inclusion of COBRAcable in the day ahead and intraday market coupling systems on 16 April 2019 and in the market coupling results on the following day, each with an allocated capacity of zero. The objective of this is to test the relevant IT systems and prepare for a successful launch of commercial operations later in the year.

Energinet and Tennet carry out a test inclusion of COBRAcable in the market coupling (picture: screenshot taken from video “COBRAcable kommer i land ved Eemshaven”, Energinet – Vimeo)

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> See Energinet press release (html)

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New hire: Oscar-worthy move to Service Operations

14.03.2019

When the Academy Awards were ceremoniously given in Hollywood at the end of February, we at TSCNET Services had a relaxed time leaning back: We already had our Oscar. And as the “Roma” director Alfonso Cuarón, probably the most undisputed winner of this year, reminded of his home country Mexico, we were also on the bright side: Mexico indeed is also the birthplace of Oscar F. Muñoz, the new Senior Service Analytics & Quality Manager in our Service Operations unit.

Oscar was born 43 years ago in Mexico City, with officially just under nine million inhabitants one of the world’s largest cities. The connection to electric power was already there: His father was an electrical technician, and at the age of twelve Oscar chose electricity as a school subject. After graduating from the Instituto Politécnico Nacional with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and energy systems, he went to the USA to earn his Master of Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. After about two and a half years as an electrical design engineer and then as a bids & proposals engineer for medium and low voltage equipment, Oscar worked for 16 years in the development of software for use in the analysis, simulation and visualisation of electrical networks, first in the USA, then in Tübingen, Baden-Württemberg.

At the end of 2018, Oscar signed up for TSCNET Services. “I was interested in a career transition from conceiving and implementing software tools for power systems to the utilisation of such software in direct applications within the environment of transmission system operators,” he explains. In Munich, his ambitious goal is to combine his education, his skills, and his many years of experience to contribute to the improvement and development of processes and tools for the analysis and visualisation of complex large-scale power systems. Hollywood, please make a note of this – it sounds like some award-winning deeds again.

Oscar F. Muñoz is the new Senior Service Analytics & Quality Manager in the Service Operations unit

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New syllabus for network codes

12.03.2019

The EU electricity network codes and guidelines are a detailed set of rules to promote the harmonisation of national electricity markets and regulations on the way to the European Energy Union. By the end of 2017, a total of eight network codes and guidelines have been implemented: three grid connection codes, three market codes and two operation codes. In order to raise awareness of these innovative pan-European rules for a more sustainable, reliable and interconnected power system and to better involve market participants in the code contents and their implementation, the Florence School of Regulation (FSR) has published a new syllabus as part of its online training on European network codes.

The online course partners of the FSR are those institutions that have developed the codes: the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E), the European Agency for Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) and the European Commission. The new manual deals mainly with market codes and discusses, for instance, the different European electricity markets and their establishment in the national context as well as their integration. Also, two connection codes are described and their technical requirements clarified. The syllabus is also a beneficial addition to ENTSO-E’s e-codes application for smartphones.

The FSR has published a new syllabus on the European electricity network codes (picture: photomontage using an illustration by the European Union / EC – Audiovisual Service)

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> See ENTSO-E press release (html)
> Visit Network codes syllabus website of the European University Institute (html, with access to download)

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Royal interest in the Wind Power Hub

07.03.2019

TenneT, the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO), had the honour of hosting high-ranking visitors. During the German-Dutch trade delegation meeting on 6 March 2019 in the German North Sea port of Bremerhaven, Manon van Beek, CEO of the TSCNET shareholder, presented the vision and current plans for the North Sea Wind Power Hub in attendance of the Dutch King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima.

The North Sea Wind Power Hub concept combines wind energy production, storage, and transmission with a multinational interconnection of North Sea riparian states. In addition to TenneT, the international hub consortium includes the Danish TSO Energinet, another TSCNET shareholder, the port of Rotterdam and the Dutch natural gas company Gasunie. Hence, power-to-gas technologies are also involved in the hub concept. A transnational transmission grid, controlled through a distribution hub in the North Sea and enabling the feed-in and distribution of vast quantities of offshore wind energy, would strengthen the whole European energy market and increase the security of supply across the continent.

The Dutch royal couple took great interest in the virtual and interactive model of the hub concept showcased at the meeting. Manon van Beek was most appreciative of this aristocratic concern: “We are especially pleased and honoured by the interest of the royal couple in the energy hub.” The TenneT CEO considers the Power Hub to be a valuable instrument in achieving the objectives of the Paris Agreement. In this regard, the royal visit was beneficial because the realisation of a low-carbon energy future “requires international cooperation and coordination, political momentum and courage and the support of non-governmental organisations”, van Beek concluded.

TenneT has presented the North Sea Wind Power Hub in the presence of the Dutch royal couple (picture: TenneT)

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> See TenneT press release (html)
> Visit North Sea Wind Power Hub website (html)

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Eco-compatibility of “Salzburgleitung” approved

06.03.2019

It took 77 months to come to a final decision, but with its verdict of 5 March 2019, the Federal Administrative Court in the Austrian capital of Vienna now has validly confirmed the environmental compatibility of the Salzburg Line (“Salzburgleitung”), a project of TSCNET shareholder APG. The national transmission system operator (TSO) can thus secure not only Salzburg’s electricity supply, but significantly increase the security of supply for the whole of Austria.

Since the 380kV line is one of Austria’s most important infrastructure projects, Gerhard Christiner and Thomas Karall, CTO and CFO of APG respectively, consider the court’s decision a milestone for Austria’s energy infrastructure: “With the Salzburg Line, APG is creating the conditions for integrating the planned massive expansion of renewable energies such as wind and photovoltaics into the electricity grid and for ensuring Austria’s secure long-term electricity supply.” The line project is a key factor in fulfilling the “#mission 2030”, the Austrian energy and climate strategy that sets the national goal of covering 100% of electricity consumption with renewable energies by 2030.

In the actual APG grid planning, the Salzburg Line is crucial for completing the so-called 380kV Safety Ring, which is to form the backbone of the future Austrian transmission system. By connecting the main wind power generation areas in the east of the country with the pumped storage power plants in the west, surplus wind power capacities not consumed locally can be transported to the storage facilities in the Alps. If required, electricity can then be retrieved again. In this way, renewable energy sources will be used more efficiently.

The environmental compatibility of the Salzburg Line project of APG has been confirmed by the court of last resort (picture: APG)

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> See APG press release, in German (html)

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Tim Meyerjürgens appointed as new COO of TenneT

05.03.2019

When it was made known that Wilfried Breuer, one of the two Chief Operations Officers (COO) of TSCNET shareholder TenneT, would leave the company with effect from 1 April 2019, the Supervisory Board of the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO) has commenced a thorough search for an adequate successor. Now Tim Meyerjürgens has been appointed COO of TenneT Holding BV alongside Ben Voorhorst.

Both the Supervisory Board and the Executive Board are pleased to have found in Tim Meyerjürgens a candidate within the company who, with 23 years of experience in the energy sector, possesses a broad technical and operational expertise. Throughout the current month, Tim Meyerjürgens and Wilfried Breuer will be working closely together to ensure a seamless handover.

Tim Meyerjürgens is appointed new COO of TenneT (illustartion based on pictures from Tennet)

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> See TenneT press release (html)

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Kick-off for Croatian-Serbian-Bulgarian market integration

28.02.2019

A first group meeting in the Serbian capital of Belgrade was the initiation of the trilateral market coupling between Croatia, Serbia, and Bulgaria. The successful event was attended by representatives of the three national transmission system operators (TSOs), including the Croatian TSCNET shareholder HOPS, and the three respective electricity exchanges as well as regulatory authorities.

Together, the parties involved have committed themselves to make every effort and providing the necessary resources to ensure the feasibility of the project and its timely implementation. The final objective is to establish a trilateral market coupling according to the European Multi-Regional Coupling (MRC) specifications.

The Croatian-Serbian-Bulgarian market coupling was initiated by a first meeting of the main stakeholders (photo of Belgrade: falco/Pixabay)

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> See HOPS press release, in Croatian (html)

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