50Hertz committed to landscape protection

21.05.2019

In the Sülzetal, in the middle of the fertile Magdeburger Börde in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt, there are salt marshes and meadows worthy of protection. Since two of the corridor alternatives for the supra-regional DC project “SuedOstLink” of TSCNET shareholder 50Hertz run through the area of the Sülzetal, the German transmission system operator (TSO) is committed to ecological compensation. Therefore, 50Hertz cooperates with the “Stiftung Kulturlandschaft Sachsen-Anhalt”, a foundation supported by agricultural associations, to establish a comprehensive biotope network by enhancing and preserving ecologically valuable areas.

The foundation has set up an “eco-account”, and 50Hertz is the largest depositor to date. 50Hertz had already transferred €1m in 2017, and in 2020, the TSO will pay in a further €1.7m. The deposits can later be used for compensatory and replacement measures for the underground cables of the SuedOstLink, for example to create biodiverse habitats for animals and plants on uncultivated areas. SuedOstLink itself is a central component of the German energy transition, as it will ensure that large quantities of wind power are transmitted from the north-east of Germany to the south, where nuclear power plants will gradually be decommissioned.

Prof. Dr. Claudia Dalbert, Saxony-Anhalt’s Minister for the Environment, Agriculture and Energy, informed herself on 20 May about the ecological benefits of the cooperation and acknowledged the Sülzetal project as an example of how “valuable nature conservation measures can be implemented in connection with infrastructure projects”. Dr. Frank Golletz, Managing Director and CEO of 50Hertz, commented that the cooperation “shows that it is possible, on the one hand, to effectively compensate for interventions in nature and, at the same time, to create an attractive local recreation area for the people of the region in the immediate vicinity of the possible SuedOstLink routings”.

50Hertz cooperates with a foundation for landscape protection to establish a biotope network as compensation for SuedOstLink (picture: 50Hertz / Jan Pauls; from left to right: Dr. Frank Golletz, Prof. Dr. Claudia Dalbert, shepherd Jürgen Maurer, Dr. Jens Birger, Managing Director of the Stiftung Kulturlandschaft Sachsen-Anhalt)

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

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Core CCR project meeting hosted by HOPS

20.05.2019

Sixteen transmission system operators (TSOs) from the heart of Europe are participating in the Core Capacity Calculation Region (CCR) project in order to implement a decision taken by the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) in November 2016 to merge the existing regional initiatives of Central Eastern and Central Western Europe into the European core region. These TSOs – including the twelve TSCNET shareholders 50Hertz, Amprion, APG, ČEPS, ELES, HOPS, MAVIR, PSE, SEPS, TenneT, Transelectrica, and TransnetBW – are strongly committed to implementing all CCR-related obligations in accordance with the respective network codes and guidelines of the European Commission.

Last week, the Croatian TSO HOPS organised a two-day project team meeting with representatives of all 16 Core CCR TSOs to calculate long-term cross-border transmission capacities compliant with the specifications on Capacity Allocation and Congestion Management (CACM). The concrete objective of the meeting in the Croatian capital of Zagreb was to prepare a proposal for an appropriate calculation methodology. This proposal will be open for public consultation from 10 June 2019. During the meeting participants also visited the HOPS control centre.

HOPS hosted a Core CCR project meeting in Zagreb (picture: HOPS)

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> See HOPS press release, in Croatian (html)

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Ultranet progresses

17.05.2019

The Ultranet substation on the grounds of the Philippsburg nuclear power plant (which will be completely shut down by 31 December 2019) in the German federal state of Baden-Württemberg is to become one of the most significant power hubs in Germany’s future energy landscape. Here, the supra-regional DC line Ultranet will be connected to the regional 380kV grid of TSCNET shareholder TransnetBW, one of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs). Ultranet will transfer wind energy generated in the northwest of the country to the industrially highly developed southwest. The European Project of Common Interest (PCI) is jointly carried out by TransnetBW and further TSCNET shareholder Amprion.

Last July, construction work began in Philippsburg with the groundbreaking ceremony for a new gas-insulated switchgear. Now the work on the new DC substation is being initiated, as TransnetBW officially started the filling of the construction site with a symbolic first excavator operation on 16 May. “This is a special day for the ULTRANET DC project and for the energy transition,” declared Dr. Werner Götz, Chairman of the TransnetBW Executive Board, to around 50 invited representatives from politics, business and society. Dr. Götz continued that now a “visible sign for the progress of the project and our aim to bring renewable electricity to Philippsburg and the region” had been set.

In the meantime, the project partner Amprion has also made progress for Ultranet, albeit in a different domain: In keeping with the motto that it is better to talk to each other than about each other, the TSO on 15 and 16 May has invited municipalities, specialist authorities and citizens’ initiatives to exchange information on the Ultranet planning status in the Rheingau-Taunus and Main-Taunus districts. A first public participation procedure had earlier led to 15 alternative routes in the respective districts, which Amprion examined in more detail. Based on the additional expert exchange, Amprion wants to better integrate the local knowledge and expertise of the participants for the comparison of variants and their environmental impacts.

TransnetBW has started preparing the construction site for the Ultranet substation in Philippsburg (picture: TransnetBW)

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> See TransnetBW press release, in German (html)
> See Amprion press release, in German (html)

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Retrospect on Innogrid2020+

15.05.2019

This year’s Innogrid2020+ took place in Brussels on 13 and 14 May. Jointly organised by the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) and the European Distribution System Operators for Smart Grids (EDSO), the motto of the prestigious annual event for 2019 was “Connecting Physics and Digits: Power Platforms on the Rise”. So, it was about physical networks and their permeation with information and communication technologies, transforming the energy system into a cyberphysical system. Among the presented projects during Innogrid2020+ were several, in which TSCNET shareholders participate: “Crossbow” with Croatian transmission system operator (TSO) HOPS, “DA/RE” by German TSO TransnetBW, “FutureFlow” (ELES from Slovenia, APG from Austria, MAVIR from Hungary, and Transelectrica from Romania), “MIGRATE” (Amprion from Germany, ELES, and Dutch-German TSO TenneT), and SINCRO.GRID (ELES and HOPS). Besides, Yves Zumwald, CEO of Swissgrid, took part as speaker in the “CEO business track panel on innovation”.

In addition to informative sessions on disruptive technologies, innovation policy or targets for 2030, the event hosts also presented the 2nd European Power Network Awards during Innogrid2020+. The first winner is the Signposting Information project by the British Distribution System Operator (DSO) WPG, which aims to open new neutral markets around flexibility. The second winner is the digital platform “cyberNOC” by CyberGRID, a specialist in the development of virtual power plant solutions. cyberNOC stands for the seamless and secure integration of battery energy storage systems and electric vehicles with aggregators, electricity markets, and grid operators.

On the second day of Innogrid2020+, ENTSO-E and EDSO used the public interest in the event to present six recommendations on energy network innovation to the European Commission in the forefront of the Copenhagen Energy Infrastructure Forum on 23 and 24 May. These recommendations include the promotion of TSO-DSO cooperation, adequate support for research, development and innovation, of sectoral coupling and digitisation, or the linking of EU funding programmes.

This year’s Innogrid2020+ focused on the digitisation of power networks (picture of presentation by Yves Zumwald, CEO of Swissgrid: EDSO)

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Woman of the world with a we-feeling

14.05.2019

“This is the most important member of the team”, says Michael S. Hyatt, and as a successful manager and bestselling author on leadership and business growth, he should actually know. Who he is talking about? The Executive Assistant! Hyatt has developed a compelling idea about this role: “A good executive assistant is like an air-traffic controller for your whole life.” TSCNET Services in Munich now also has such a marvel: 39-year-old Rebecca Brauer, called Becky.

Born in London, she has more than 15 years of experience as an Executive Assistant and has worked for global organisations such as the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), Barclays Capital, Deloitte, and Citigroup in cities such as London, New York, Moscow, Berlin, and Brussels. She gained a wide range of international experience in different cultures and took on a variety of administrative and project management responsibilities, as well as co-ordinating on-site and off-site events.

In addition to important clients and other stakeholders, Becky on her travels around the globe fortunately also met her husband, a confirmed Bavarian, whom we owe her move to Germany (however, they got to know each other thousands of kilometres away, in California, but that’s a different story). Since New Year’s Day 2017, the two are the parents of an enchanting little daughter. “Becoming a mother has been the biggest challenge yet most rewarding role of my life,” Becky says. Now at TSCNET Services she wants to master both roles and “make my daughter proud”. With all her experience in culturally different and diverse environments she wants to support the management team and the whole company in their development and make them even stronger.

“I felt like I was going to be joining a team of highly skilled, multi-cultural individuals who all have a common aim to make TSCNET a thriving company within their industry and provide exceptional services to their clients,” reports Becky. And she quickly gained traction in her new position. “I felt that the people at TSCNET were very welcoming and had a real ‘family’ feel about the culture right away.”

As always in life, there will also be setbacks and hurdles to overcome. For such times, Michael S. Hyatt had a quote from Edward Everett Hale on the wall of his CEO office: “I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something: and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.” This by the way also goes very well with air-traffic controllers!

TSCNET Services has welcomed Rebecca Brauer as new Executive Assistant

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Eco-friendly substation maintenance

13.05.2019

In total, TSCNET shareholder TenneT operates 462 high-voltage substations in the Dutch and German control areas of the binational transmission system operator (TSO). The operation of a high-voltage grid inevitably involves interference with ecosystems, but TenneT is investigating how to minimise and compensate for this. For this reason, the TSO has carried out a pilot project on biodiversity at three substations in the Netherlands.

The results of the pilot are impressive: The nature-friendly maintenance of the three facilities has preserved up to 72 percent of their insect populations. The respective measures to increase biodiversity can easily be replicated. Local seed mixtures were sown, and greens were mown in a meandering manner. Based on these encouraging results, TenneT will promote biodiversity at all of its 462 substations.

TenneT intends to establish biodiversity-friendly management as the corporate standard by 2025. This commitment to biodiversity is part of the TSO’s Corporate Social Responsibility approach for 2025 and reflects the company’s ambition to play a leading role in the energy transition as a “Green Grid Operator”. Ben Voorhorst, member of TenneT’s Executive Board, explains: “With our high voltage connections and stations, in addition to transporting green electricity, we can also contribute to the conservation of nature in another way.”

TenneT is introducing biodiversity-friendly substation maintenance (picture: kie-ker/Pixabay)

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Line upgrade in the German Upper Rhine Plain

11.05.2019

The transmission capacity of the extra-high voltage grid in the southwest of Baden-Württemberg, Germany, is reaching its limits considering the requirements for an efficient and future-proof energy system. To increase capacity and ensure regional security of supply as well as reliable transmission in the future, Baden-Württemberg’s transmission system operator (TSO), TSCNET shareholder TransnetBW, is replacing the 220kV overhead line between Karlsruhe-Daxlanden and Eichstetten am Kaiserstuhl (near Freiburg) with a 380kV line. This line upgrade in the Upper Rhine Plain is part of the National Network Development Plan for Electricity and comprises the construction of around 120km of new lines and five substations.

The entire project is divided into four sections and the planning approval procedure for the section B1 between Sasbach and Offenburg-Weier in the Ortenau district was opened on 9 May. TransnetBW had submitted the relevant documents at the end of last year to the Freiburg Regional Council. After official review and a revision by the TSO, the authority initiated the approval procedure. Next steps include the consultation process with a month-long disclosure of the documents to the municipalities concerned and the involvement of public interest parties.

Start of planning approval for the Sasbach-Offenburg section of TransnetBW’s Daxlanden-Eichstetten line upgrade (picture: TransnetBW)

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> See TransnetBW press release, in German (html)

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New hires: Heroic rendezvous in Service Operations

10.05.2019

It sounds like a brilliant mastermind with exceptional electromagnetic abilities in a superhero movie, but with a little goodwill you could say that he now works for TSCNET Services: Dr. Power (he usually prefers not to use any titles at all – also because they tend to be longer than his name, as he admits with a twinkle in his eye). We are talking about Martin Zak from Czechia, who hired as Junior Operations Manager in the Business Unit Service Operations. The 27-year-old has a master’s degree in electrical engineering and emergency medicine (and yes, he knows how strange this combination is). He comes from the other side of the desk and has worked as a control centre operator for our customer and shareholder ČEPS in Prague. So the die-hard board game fan has already known many of his new colleagues, and he is also very familiar with the topics of network security and operating principles.

Another new member of the Service Operations team is Jorge Alves. The 33-year-old Portuguese with a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering with a major in Power Systems from the University of Porto previously worked as a High Voltage Network Operator at EDP Distribuição. His wife went to Germany for her doctorate as a biologist. When their son was born, Jorge followed his wife to the north and applied as Operations Manager to TSCNET. His greatest hobby is surfing, and even though the waves there are considerably smaller than on Portugal’s Atlantic coast, he is already eager for the famous river surfing on Munich’s Eisbach. On the one hand, this certainly helps as balance to office work, but on the other it seems to awaken the fighting spirit – Jorge’s superhero counterpart, the famous Silver Surfer, was known for that: “Others may battle with victory in sight – but the Surfer still strives when all hope is gone!”

The third newcomer in the group is Jonas Häusler, a 25-year-old Franconian from Erlangen near Nuremberg with a master’s degree in mathematics and power grid optimisation as his thesis topic. He starts as Junior Operations Manager and wants to learn as much as possible as quickly as possible and complement the team in the further “evolution of the European power system” with his special perspective of a strictly abstract and analytically thinking mathematician. But he has even more knowledge and experience to offer, and that falls under a term that best suits the world of superheroes: Jonas is a true Master of Disaster! As part of his many years of voluntary work for a German aid organisation, he has also worked as an instructor for disaster control units. Although TSCNET and our customers want to avoid catastrophes by all means his expertise is also extremely valuable – professionals agree that there is hardly anything as helpful in avoiding crises as the experience from crises that have already been mastered.

We wish all three new members of the team such a good start in our company, that all possible superhero forces can be fully channelled into the European power grid!

Fresh engagements for Service Operations (from the left): Martin Zak, Jorge Alves, and Jonas Häusler (picture: TSCNET Services)

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High potential of blockchained home storage systems

09.05.2019

Maintaining the balance of the transmission system despite volatility of renewables and lack of conventional operating reserves is an essential future concern of European transmission system operators (TSOs). In search of adequate balancing solutions, a worldwide unique pilot project for the blockchain-based networking of home storage systems was launched in 2017. The cooperation partners are TSCNET shareholder TenneT, the Dutch-German TSO, and sonnen, a company specialised in smart power storage. The promisingly completed pilot demonstrates the potential of blockchain technology to become a key application for the efficient provision of network stabilising measures.

The aim of the pilot was to test the suitability of blockchained storage systems for preventing emergency measures in the event of bottlenecks, e. g. the throttling of wind farms. To this end, TenneT deployed a virtual power station comprising of home storage systems specially provided by sonnen with a blockchain solution by IBM. The intelligent charge management of the battery storage systems adapted itself individually to the respective situation in the TenneT grid, whereby the batteries absorb or release excess current within seconds if required.

Manon van Beek, CEO of TenneT, comments on the succesful project: “We’ve shown for the first time how it’s technically feasible to utilise blockchain technology so households can stabilise the power grid via their home storage systems.” Actually, the results are so promising that TenneT intends to undertake further blockchain programmes, especially as by 2030 there could already be decentralised battery storage facilities in Germany with a total capacity of up to 10,000MW.

A pilot project by TenneT on blockchained home storage systems for grid stabilisation has proven the high potential of this technological approach (picture: edited screenshot taken from sonnen video “The largest virtual battery to compensate for fluctuations in the power grid”, YouTube)

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> See TenneT press release (html)

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66kV technology reduces offshore connection costs

08.05.2019

In future offshore projects, TSCNET shareholder TenneT will continue to reduce grid connection costs through standardisation and innovative technology. For the DolWin5 offshore grid connection in the so-called DolWin cluster in the south-western part of the German Bight, the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO) has contracted a consortium consisting of Aibel and Keppel FELS with ABB as subcontractor with the design, engineering, procurement, construction, installation and commissioning of a 900MW offshore HVDC converter platform and an onshore converter station.

The outstanding feature of the DolWin5 project is the innovative connection concept. The innovative 66kV technology from TenneT, which will be deployed, represents a new generation of low-cost offshore grid connections. The wind turbines will be directly connected to the offshore platform without the need for separate substations for the wind turbines. This direct connection not only omits any further substations but also the 155kV three-phase power cables for linking the wind farm to the offshore platform. Instead, 66kV three-phase cables will be used.

“With DolWin5 we open a new chapter in offshore grid connection technology: For the first time, the wind turbines are directly connected to our offshore platform,” comments TenneT COO Tim Meyerjürgens and adds: “This innovative technology results in an enormous cost reduction. The new direct connection will save around €200m in macroeconomic terms.”

TenneT opts for the innovative 66kV three-phase technology for future offshore connections (Picture: TenneT)

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> See TenneT press release, in German (html)

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