Cable plough for extra-high voltage line


Once again, TSCNET shareholder TenneT, the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO), is doing pioneering work for the transmission grid of the future: The TSO is planning to employ an innovative cable laying technology for the underground sections of the new 380kV Wahle-Mecklar line and thus has commissioned a specialist company with the development of a specified plough for laying extra-high voltage underground cables – up to now the experience with this laying technique is restricted to low voltage levels. The power line from Wahle in the German federal state of Lower Saxony to Mecklar in the state of Hesse is one of the national extra-high voltage projects, which are indispensable to succeed with the energy transition.

Since the requirements for the precise laying of extra-high voltage cables are significantly higher than for lower voltage ranges, it is most important, whether these requirements can be met as safely and effectively as in conventional laying techniques. If the new method should prove resilient in the test, TenneT would be able to significantly reduce soil excavation, shorten the construction time of this and other underground projects, save costs and relieve the consumers. TenneT also has a keen interest in minimising any restrictions on farmers during the construction phase. That’s why the TSO committed to a comprehensive soil protection concept already before construction start.

> See TenneT press release, in German (html)

Picture: Frank Föckersperger GmbH (example image of a current cable plough)


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Interactive annual report from PSE


The business conduct of any transmission system operator (TSO) has an enormous impact on its environment. For the example of Poland, this is profoundly documented in the recently published integrated annual report of TSCNET shareholder PSE, the Polish transmission system operator. In addition to the overview of the company, the report presents the PSE’s new strategy and initiatives to ensure present and future security of the electricity system. The publication format of the report complies with these innovative business strategies as it is published in a well-designed interactive format employing state-of-the-art technology.

The new integrated report is PSE’s first to combine a sustainability report with financial data. Another feature is the inventive PSE value creation model, which is based on the three areas of market, infrastructure and investment as well as people and relationships. In his statement on the report and the company’s involvement in socio-political issues, Eryk Kłossowski, President of the PSE Board, emphasises the importance of implementing a capacity market: “This will significantly contribute to the improvement of system operation security, and hence support PSE in the fulfilment of its duties as TSO.”

> See PSE press release (html, with access to report)

Picture: PSE / Picture from PSE’s interactive annual report


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Second MIGRATE workshop in Brussels


The MIGRATE project (“Massive InteGRATion of power Electronic devices”) was launched in 2016 under the framework and funding of the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme. Its 23 consortium partners from 13 European countries, include the transmission system operators (TSOs) and TSCNET shareholders Amprion (Germany), ELES (Slovenia), and the Dutch-German TSO TenneT. Coordinated by TenneT, they explore technology-based solutions for an optimised linking of electricity generation and consumption by means of power electronics.

“More power electronics into the grid: Innovative solutions for operations, and impacts on connection rules” – That is the promising title of the second public MIGRATE workshop, which will be held in Brussels, Belgium, in the premises of the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) on 28 March 2018. The MIGRATE partners will present, inter alia, the project’s progress and discuss the impacts of the expected results as well as the possibilities of implementing them.

> See ELES press release (html)
> Visit MIGRATE website (html, with access to workshop registration)


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PST for Amprion substation


The decommissioning of nuclear and other large power plants in Germany in the course of the energy transition forces the four German transmission system operators (TSOs) to take compensatory measures in order to keep the grid’s voltage on the required level. Essential for voltage maintaining is the reactive power, which previously has been provided mainly by large power plants. Since more and more of these facilities go off the grid, the TSOs respond with the installation of reactive power compensation systems.

One example of this is given by TSCNET shareholder Amprion in the southern part of its control area. The Grundremmingen nuclear plant at the Danube river near Günzburg in the west Bavarian administratitave region of Swabia has been partially shut down on 31 December 2017. Its complete decommissioning is scheduled for 2021. To counterbalance the plant’s ceasing reactive power capacities, Amprion has been modernising since 2016 the substation Oberottmarshausen near Augsburg, an important interface between the transnational 380kV grid and the regional grids. The centrepiece of the upgraded substation will be a new controllable rotating phase-shifting transformer (PST). Such devices are particularly flexible compensation tools, which raise or lower the voltage in the transmission system just as required.

Already since 19 January, the new PST made by Siemens is on its way from Mülheim an der Ruhr to Oberottmarshausen by boat and train. The last part of the journey will be carried out as heavy-duty road transport. The entire road transport unit, including tractor and pusher, is about 44m long and weighs 441t. The PST is expected to reach the substation on 13 February.

> See Amprion press release, in German (html)

Picture: Screenshot taken from the video “Siemens at a glance – Energy Management” (YouTube)


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Europe Power System 2040


The Ten Year Network Development Plan 2018 (TYNDP 2018) is the forthcoming master plan for developing the European transmission system. Last autumn, the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) issued several TYNDP 2018 Scenarios for public consultation. The reassessed scenarios form the basis for the next stage of the TYNDP 2018, the release of the first pan-European report “Europe Power System 2040: completing the map” and six correlating regional investment plans. Yet again, ENTSO-E invites all interested members of the public to participate in a consultation on these reports, which closes on 28 February and will be accompanied by a public webinar.

While the reports do not give final answers to all the vital questions concerning the sustainable, reliable and efficient “European Power System 2040”, they do provide assessments and analyses by the transmission system operators (TSOs) on future hardware, software or regulatory needs. Laurent Schmitt, Secretary General of ENTSO-E, explains: “Today’s reports have the strong advantage of for the first time attempting to put numbers on what would be the consequences of not upgrading our system.” Schmitt adds, that “already today about one third of the power generation mix is provided through variable renewables.” Hence, a profound modernisation and extension of the European grid turns out to be an indispensable must. “The power networks that were built in Europe since the early days of electricity have to adapt – meaning also be augmented as well as digitalised,” concludes Schmitt.

The final version of the TYNDP 2018, including a cost benefit analysis of about 200 transmission and storage projects, will be released in the course of this year. It will serve as decision-making tool to determine future European Projects of Common Interest (PCIs). Ideally, it will propose the right investments in the right places, with the right technologies and regulations.

> See ENTSO-E press release (html, with access to reports and consultation web form)

Picture: ENTSO-E


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Green light for grid extension in Hesse


The new 380kV power line from Wahle in the German federal state of Lower Saxony to Mecklar in the state of Hesse is an important onshore project of TSCNET shareholder TenneT, the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO). The line with a length of about 230km is one of those German extra-high voltage line projects, which are strongly needed to succeed with the energy transition. It will increase the transmission capacity for wind energy from northern Germany to the consumption centres in the west and south and also ensure supply security and system stability in Lower Saxony and North Hesse. Its full commissioning is planned for 2021.

TenneT has gained official permission for the construction of the 65km section between the Hessian-Lower Saxony state border and the Mecklar substation in Ludwigsau on 5 February. In the state capital of Wiesbaden, the Hessian Minister of Economics, Energy, Transport and Regional Development Tarek Al-Wazir solemnly handed over the plan approval to Lex Hartman, member of the TenneT executive board. With this green signal, TenneT will continue the pre-construction measures and tender the actual construction work. A welcome side effect is, that TenneT in Hesse will be able to dismantle some 50 kilometres of existing 110kV overhead lines which can be carried along with the new line.

Minister Al-Wazir acknowledged Tennet’s good cooperation with the authorities and the public: “The result is high public acceptance of the route.” On the part of TenneT Lex Hartman added, that the planing approval “marks an important milestone on the way to the realisation of the Wahle-Mecklar connection and a further step in the success of the energy transition”.

> See TenneT press release, in German (html)

Picture: TenneT


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Triple hire for our team


Getting the right people on board is a cornerstone of development and quality. TSCNET Services has further strengthened its team with three new hires to support growing demand for services and expertise (on the picture from the left to the right): Maja Markovic, Gabor Maroti, and Bojana Mihic.

Until fairly recently, the new Operations Manager in our Service Operations team, Bojana, was working at the Development and Strategy department of EMS (Elektromreza Srbije), the Serbian power transmission system operator (TSO). There she was in charge of Connection Studies and Network Codes Implementation. Along the way, Bojana was not only involved in ENTSO-E activities as a member of the working group Connection Network Code (CNC) and as the National CNCs Link Person (NCLP), but also worked with  organisations such as the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and Conseil International des Grands Réseaux Électriques (CIGRE) where she gained international experience and knowledge about transmission systems in different countries including some that TSCNET Services is working for. After three years she decided it’s a time for change: “Joining TSCNET is a great opportunity to expand my practical knowledge and operational experience when there is a significant share of renewable energy,” says Bojana. “Developing new methodologies and handling everyday operational challenges while meeting the needs of the different transmission systems, TSCNET is setting new steps in regional security coordination. This is what makes it an excellent choice on my path to becoming a skillful and accomplished Power System Engineer.”

The two other arrivals boost our IT Services team: Maja Markovic as a Senior IT Application Manager and Gabor Maroti as an IT Test Analyst. Maja is an experienced power engineer with nearly twelve years in power systems modeling, analyses, and software development. She was in on the go-live of SCC, the Regional Security Coordinator (RSC) in Southeast Europe, and was a part of the team developing the EMF (European Merging Function) tool deployed by SCC and several European TSOs. “Being one of the experts of ENTSO-E’s Work Package 4 afforded me a deeper insight into establishing business processes and procedures across Europe integrating all TSOs and RSCs to reach the common goals,” says Maja. “I’ve unraveled the secret of moving forward pretty soon: To work closely with all parties concerned and keep the teams motivated, well informed, challenged and goal oriented.”

Losing track of his goals is not in Gabor’s DNA. The power engineer and graduate from the Budapest University of Technology and Economics (BME) brings significant experience as a Tester and System Engineer. He was also concerned with high voltage systems and passed three ISTQB (International Software Testing Qualifications Board) exams during the years. Then Gabor concluded that he wanted to work abroad. “The open position at TSCNET in Munich, for me, meant the opportunity to combine two of my favourite fields of interest: Electric networks and testing. I immediately knew that I want to be part of this,” explains Gabor. First impressions proved right: “As I’m getting more and more familiar with this company, the colleagues, and their passion for what they are doing, I can proudly state that this is the best that could happen to me.”

We are pleased to welcome you, Bojana, Maja, and Gabor! We all will contribute our share to make the new employees’ time with TSCNET Services positive, affirming, and exciting.


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EU proposal on capacity calculation criticised


With the “Clean Energy for All Europeans” package, the European Commision pursues the goal of providing a stable legislative framework for a sustainable European energy future as well as a reliable bundle of regulations for the market players. In December 2017, the Council of the European Union adopted the General Approach on package-related pieces of legislation, including article 14 of the Regulation on the internal market for electricity, which comprises capacity calculation provisions. On 2 February, the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) has issued a critical statement on the Council proposal.

ENTSO-E fears that Article 14, if implemented, will put the well-functioning of the internal market and the secure operation of the power system at risk. In particular, ENTSO-E criticises the target value for cross-zonal trade that obliges transmission system operators (TSOs) to offer at least 75% of capacities on interconnectors. To achieve this target, the TSOs might have to perform significantly more redispatch measures. Instead of the Council’s approach, ENTSO-E considers regionally differentiated minimum capacity targets more appropriate. In addition, the targets should be based on economic and physical analysis and must allow TSOs to occasionally deviate in favour of system security. On the basis of careful considerations, ENTSO-E calls on policy-makers to rethink the provisions to the benefit of the European electricity market and the consumers.

TSCNET shareholder PSE, the Polish TSO, has released a similar statement already on 18 January. PSE also criticises the capacity calculation provisions of Article 14 and is apprehensive of a further separation of market and system operation as a possible result of the calculation rules. PSE has thoroughly analysed the complex matter and suggests, that the TSOs themselves should define capacity calculation details through research and design activities, supervised by the national regulatory authorities and the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER).

> See ENTSO-E press release (html)
> See PSE press release, issued 18 January (html)

Picture: Jennifer Jacquemart / EC-Audiovisual Service


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Start of XBID solution postponed


Wether technological innovation or business decision – it is always better to take the necessary time and go through conceptions thoroughly, than to compromise ambitious goals with a premature start. This is also the case with the Cross-Border Intraday (XBID) initiative. The original go-live date for XBID Solution and ten Local Implementation Projects (LIPs) has been postponed from March to June 2018, in order to allow for additional testing and two trial trading periods thus ensuring the robustness of XBID.

Nearly twenty transmission system operators (TSOs) from all over Europe are collaborating in the XBID initiative, among them are the TSCNET shareholders 50Hertz, Amprion, APG, Energinet, TenneT, and TransnetBW, as well as TSCNET client Creos from Luxembourg. Along with several Nominated Electricity Market Operators (NEMOs) and under the coordination of the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) the partners are working on a single integrated European intraday market. The basis of this cross-zonal market solution is a common IT system comprising one shared order book, a capacity management module, and a shipping module.

A pan-European coupling of intraday markets through cross-border trade is a key element in creating the European internal electricity market. Provided that the LIP testing phase will be completed successfully, highly efficient intraday trading will be possible across fourteen countries from 12 June. According to the current state of planning, most of the other European countries are to follow in a second XBID-wave in spring or summer 2019.

> See Amprion press release, in German (html)
> Open Amprion press release, in English (pdf, 97kb)

Picture: Edited detail of an image by Craig Mayhew / Robert Simmon (NASA GSFC) courtesy Marc Imhoff (NASA GSFC) / Christopher Elvidge (NOAA NGDC) (Creative Commons)


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Grid modernisation in Germany’s southwest


By crossing the Swabian Jura, the extra-high voltage line between the towns of Wendlingen und Dellmensingen connects the Stuttgart metropolitan region with the economic centre of Ulm in the German federal state of Baden-Württemberg. TSCNET shareholder TransnetBW, one of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs), is going to modernise the 380kV overhead line with a length of about 65 kilometres. Several steel parts of the existing masts will be replaced, which will affect neither the basic mast structure nor the local supply security. The works will be carried out from February to August.

> See TransnetBW press release, in German (html)

Picture: TransnetBW


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