“ELEMENT ONE” couples green energy sectors

17.10.2018

Power-to-gas (PtG) technologies can make a significant contribution to solving the problem of the weather-dependent and thus volatile availability of renewable energies. The PtG offer for a low carbon energy future is to convert sustainable electricity into gas (green hydrogen or methane), so that the gas infrastructure can be used additionally for the transport and storage of renewable energies. A future milestone in the PtG area is now emerging, as TSCNET shareholder TenneT, the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO) for electricity, and the two TSOs for gas, Gasunie and Thyssengas, have embarked on concrete planning for green sector coupling using PtG technologies.

Without ambitious and courageous lighthouse projects, the energy transition cannot be successfully promoted, and the three TSOs have just presented precisely this kind of project with “ELEMENT ONE”. In the German federal state of Lower Saxony, the three operators are planning to build a PtG pilot plant, which will be the largest of its kind in Germany with a capacity of 100MW. From 2022, the plant will gradually be connected to the grid and offer new storage capacities for renewable energies. The ultimate long-term goal to be achieved by the partners is a comprehensive coupling of the energy, transport and industry sectors.

TenneT sees great potential in PtG technologies because they can provide the power grid with a much needed degree of flexibility. And this creates many advantages for grid operation as Lex Hartman, Managing Director of TenneT, emphasises: “The ability to store large volumes of renewable electricity will reduce the load on the power grid. That, in turn, helps us limit the expensive curtailment of wind turbines and make the power supply more reliable.” And what may be perhaps the most significant aspect for the public ‒ considering the ongoing discussions about grid extension in Germany ‒ is the prediction that “storing more green energy also entails a reduced need for further grid expansion after 2030”.

In cooperation with Gasunie and Thyssengas, TenneT presents the ELEMENT ONE project for green sector coupling using PtG technology

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> See TenneT press release (html)

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PowerCoordinationEurope – ElSeC 2018 held in Brussels

17.10.2018

Exactly one year ago today TSCNET Services in cooperation with the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) hosted the first Conference on Electricity Security Coordination (ElSeC) in Munich. Yesterday this year’s edition took place in Brussels, Belgium, under the title #PowerCoordinationEurope. The event was organised by ENTSO-E and Coreso, the Regional Security Coordinator (RSC) for Belgium, France, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain, in partnership with the Florence School of Regulation (FSR). The event is said to “be a unique opportunity to explore the European electricity ‘stellar system’ with its local, national, regional and European dimensions – its market, operations, planning and innovation galaxies with IT as a vehicle for connecting the dots between them”.

In the course of the conference, the so-called Clean Energy Package was repeatedly discussed – with interesting contributions. Miguel Arias Cañete, European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, reiterated his expectation that the “decarbonisation of the power sector will be faster than anticipated”. We from TSCNET Services were also present. Uwe Zimmermann, one of the two Managing Directors, took part in the panel discussion on “A journey across Europe: RSC services and regional specificities”, also covering the needed level of interoperability between the RSCs.

The second Managing Director, Maik Neubauer, was one of the panelists at the session “Digital: enabling power coordination” discussing the impacts of digitalisation and analytical intelligence on grid management and European energy markets, but also aspects like cybersecurity for grid data. Together with Laurent Schmitt, General Secretary of ENTSO-E, and FSR Director Jean-Michel Glachant, he discussed the complexity topics of managing the security in the European power grid, based on rapidly evolving technologies.

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The ElSeC 2018 video by Coreso presenting all five Regional Security Coordinators (RSCs) in Europe (Munich and TSCNET Services from minute 5:30)

ElSeC 2018, called #PowerCoordinationEurope, by Coreso in cooperation with ENTSO-E and The Florence School of Regulation was held in Brussels

Linkup
> See ElSeC 2018 PowerCoordinationEurope programme (html)
> See ElSeC 2018 PowerCoordinationEurope list of speakers (html)

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Tenacious New Year’s wishes – welcome, Ines!

16.10.2018

Starting into the new year with lofty wishes and plans, and then later too often finding out that it hadn’t worked out again. “It’s only normal”, many would say. But sometimes it just takes a long time – as with Ines Bernal, the new Business Analyst in TSCNET’s Service Development unit. The 26-year-old Madrilenian was in Munich for the first time during the New Year’s holidays 2008 and thought to herself: “I like it here – I wouldn’t mind living and working here later”. Well, and now here she is.

But Ines has made excellent use of the past years. After studying Industrial Engineering at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, she obtained a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) in Chicago. There she specialised in modelling energy systems in order to develop programmes to optimise network operation. She then returned to Madrid and made an internship with the line maintenance department of REE, the Spanish transmission system operator (TSO). She became familiar with maintenance plans and methods. After her internship, she joined a consulting firm in Madrid about three years ago as a Power System Modeler, where she worked on various projects mainly in developing countries, from generation and transmission planning via wholesale market simulations to evaluating interconnection initiatives and cost analysis of service studies. “Time in countries like India, Egypt, Kenya or Rwanda has taught me a lot about my profession, but also about life as a whole,” she says.

The enthusiastic sportswoman has chosen TSCNET for various reasons. On the one hand, she wants to participate in state-of-the-art activities on a multinational level. On the other hand, she sees the willingness to grow, learn and explore new technologies and methods. As a business analyst, a whole bunch of important tasks awaits her, for example the development of service prototypes, the search for new approaches to business optimisation, carrying out network analyses or coordinating development proposals with our customers. “In the end, it’s all about good solutions that give our customers with all their needs real added value,” summarises Ines. Customers and colleagues alike will love to hear that. Welcome to the team!

Ines Bernal from Spain has joined TSCNET Services as Business Analyst in the Service Development Unit

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SINCRO.GRID contract for process technical systems

16.10.2018

The Croatian-Slovenian smartgrid project SINCRO.GRID is carried out by the two TSCNET shareholders ELES, the transmission system operator (TSO) from Slovenia, and HOPS from Croatia. The cross-border initiative aims at optimising the efficiency of the Croatian and Slovenian electricity transmission grids through the application of advanced technologies and innovative data processing methods. SINCRO.GRID has been awarded the status of Project of Common Interest (PCI) by the European Commission under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) programme.

On behalf of SINCRO.GID, HOPS has signed a contract with KONČAR-KET, the Croatian provider of engineering services for power generation, transmission or distribution facilities. The contract comes with the rather unwieldy title: “Process technical systems for the voltage and reactive power regulation support of the EES and dynamic monitoring of the transmission line load within the SINCRO.GRID project”, but what it’s all about is to increase the quality and capacity of the power system through the use of advanced process technical systems and algorithms. This will also promote the integration of the renewables and increase the security of customer supply.

HOPS has signed a contract for the use of process technical systems on behalf of SINCRO.GRID (picture: HOPS; on the left: Mario Gudelj, Chairman of the Board at HOPS, on the right: Goran Leci, Managing Director of KONČAR-KET)

Linkup
> See HOPS press release, in Croatian (html)
> See news release on SINCRO.GRID website (html)

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Operations in Bavarian – welcome, Mohammad and Vincent!

15.10.2018

We at TSCNET Services are passionate advocates of diversity, especially when it comes to the origins of our employees. People from 24 nations work with us – but then many people are happy when someone truly Bavarian is also part of it. Bavaria has to do with both newcomers to our Service Operations unit, but in very different ways.

With Vincent Helmbrecht (right in the picture) it’s quite easy: The 33-year-old Operations Manager comes from Pfaffenhofen an der Ilm, just 40 kilometers north of Munich, and the gateway to Holledau, the world’s largest hop-growing region. If you don’t know: Hops are the characteristic ingredient for beer, and worldwide Bavaria stands for the so popular brewery product.

After his Bachelor of Engineering (B.Eng.) in Renewable Energies Technologies at the University of Applied Sciences Nordhausen, Vincent earned his Master of Science (M.Sc.) in Renewable Energies and Energy Efficiency at the University of Kassel in 2013. After around three years as a photovoltaic researcher at the Fraunhofer Institute for Energy Economics and Energy System Technology (Fraunhofer IEE) in Kassel and in the European Network of Excellence (DERlab), Vincent joined TSCNET shareholder TenneT, the German-Dutch transmission system operator (TSO). There he worked at the Control Center in Dachau, which borders Munich in the west. His focus was on capacity calculations and Week-Ahead, Day-Ahead and Intraday calculations including redispatch for the grid’s n-1 security.

Vincent hired TSCNET for a period of 18 months. He wants to bring in his knowledge from the TSO side and at the same time get to know the work of a multinational Regional Security Coordinator (RSC), such as TSCNET, even better.

It is somewhat more complicated with the Syrian Kurd Mohammad Qasem, whom the family and friends call Bradost or Brad for short. In 2009, he began his studies in Information Technology Engineering (ITE) at the University of Damascus. Before his graduation he had to leave the country because of the civil war in 2012 and went to the Kurdish part of Iraq. There he worked in various humanitarian projects for the Italian aid organisation Un Ponte Per and also developed several database applications, among others financed by UNHCR and UNICEF.

In 2015 Mohammad was accepted into the “Leadership for Syria” programme of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and continued his studies in Engineering Physics at Oldenburg University, specialising in renewable energies. During his studies, he also had a lot to do with photovoltaics in addition to wind energy and developing new concepts to realise the “Energy Turnaround”. Now that he has graduated, the 26-year-old has moved to Munich with his family and started as Junior Operations Manager at TSCNET, and now we’ ve come full circle when it comes to Bavarian: After Kurdish, Arabic, English, and German, the amateur photographer and music lover now also wants to learn the Bavarian dialect, which is “difficult even for native German speakers in other parts of the country to understand”, as the global edition of “Handelsblatt” says. Perhaps Mohammad’s new colleague Vincent will kindly include some Bavarian in his knowledge transfer project.

TSCNET Services has welcomed Mohammad Qasem (on the left) and Vincent Helmbrecht, the two new colleagues in the Service Operations unit

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2nd CBA guideline approved

15.10.2018

The European Commission (EC) has approved the second Guideline for Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) of grid development projects submitted by the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E). The comprehensive CBA document, now published by ENTSO-E, and the new methodology included in the publication are the result of a three-year process that has taken full account of the proposals of stakeholders, member states, regulators and the EC. ENTSO-E itself describes the guideline design as “learning by implementing”.

The CBA methodology is of such significance in that it not only provides the sole European methodology allowing a consistent assessment of Ten-Year Network Development Plan (TYNDP) transfer and storage projects, but its results are also the main input for the EC in the selection of European Projects of Common Interest (PCIs). In addition, the European CBA methodology can be regarded as a source of learning for national CBAs.

The European Commission has approved the 2nd ENTSO-E guideline for the CBA of grid development projects

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> See ENTSO-E press release (html, with access to CBA guideline)

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Carole and Sonja started as Junior Operations Managers

12.10.2018

Each new co-worker brings new stories and new insights to a team. This also applies to the two new Junior Operations Managers in the Service Operations unit: Carole Rickmouni and Sonja Tomic. Let’s start with Carole, a 27-year-old energy engineer “from a tiny French island in the Indian ocean”, east of Madagascar and 175km southwest of Mauritius: La Réunion. Only a few Europeans should know that the 63km long island has a real three-thousander: The Piton des Neiges volcano at 3,070m above sea level. Translated, the name of the mountain means: snow peak. “In fact, it’s a beautiful ski resort,” confirms one tourism expert. But he adds: “Despite its name, even at the top of the mountain snow practically never falls. The last snow on the island fell a few years ago and some locals almost thought it was the end of the world. The mountain is awesome, so come to visit – but leave the skis at home.” Now in Munich, however, Carole definitely wants to climb mountains and ski.

She also has clear professional goals in mind: “I am passionate about sustainable development and I want to develop my skills in power system operations and electricity markets,” says Carole. “One of the most interesting aspects of energy system transformation is securing the electricity grid, which was originally not designed for renewable energies.” She knows what she’s talking about: For her thesis she dealt with the economic and technical assessment of the Danish power grid.

The 26-year-old Sonja has also already gained some experience in the field of energy. She comes from the small town of Kakanj in Bosnia-Herzegovina, about 50 kilometres north of Sarajevo. With its coal deposits and power station (Termoelektrana Kakanj), it played an important role in the industrialisation of the former Yugoslavia.

The power plant also aroused Sonja’s interest in the energy sector. A good year ago she completed her studies and obtained a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering, department Energetics. Already during her studies, she worked in the field of data analysis and started shortly before finishing her studies at an international company with a focus on the energy industry.

In 2016 it was the first time that Sonja visited Munich – “and I immediately fell in love with the city,” she sums up. In addition to the business itself, she was also convinced by the internationality and cultural diversity of TSCNET Services. She wants to learn a lot here and develop further in her team. And she is pretty sure: “My move to Munich – that was a one-way ticket”. If it’ s up to her colleagues: Yes, gladly!

TSCNET Services has welcomed Carole Rickmouni and Sonja Tomic as Junior Operations Managers in the Service Operations unit

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First partial feed-in from Arkona wind farm

10.10.2018

The Arkona offshore project in the south-eastern part of the “Westlich Adlergrund” wind farm cluster in the Baltic Sea near the German Island of Rügen is in the final stage of construction. In April 2018, the platform topside for the Arkona windfarm was mounted on the platform jackets. In the following months, the topside was further equipped, tested and prepared for operation. Also the corresponding grid connection, Ostwind 1, has made great progress and has now been partially implemented by TSCNET shareholder 50Hertz, one of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs).

After its completion, Ostwind 1 will transmit the converted electricity from the wind turbines via a 220kV submarine cable to the Lubmin onshore transformer station in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. With the realisation of the first partial feed from Arkona during the construction phase of Ostwind 1, the development of the entire connection project is fully on schedule. Currently, 50Hertz is carrying out the remaining work along the cable route to the Arkona platform by laying another submarine cable.

With the first partial feed-in of electricity from the Arkona wind farm, 50Hertz is further advancing the Ostwind 1 offshore connection (picture: Equinor)

Linkup
> See 50Hertz news release (html)

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Acer decision on fallback procedures for Core CCR

09.10.2018

In March 2018, the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) was asked by the competent regulatory authorities to decide on the amended proposal of the transmission system operators (TSOs) from the Core Capacity Calculation Region (CCR) regarding the Core CCR fallback procedures. In the following August, ACER invited all interested stakeholders to share their views on the issue in a public consultation. After evaluating the survey, ACER has now published its decision on revisions to the methodology for fallback procedures.

The Core CCR consists of sixteen Central European TSOs, twelve of which are TSCNET shareholders: APG (Austria), ČEPS (Czechia), ELES (Slovenia), HOPS (Croatia), MAVIR (Hungary), PSE (Poland), SEPS (Slovakia), Transelectrica (Romania), the Dutch-German TSO TenneT, and the three further TSOs from Germany 50Hertz, Amprion, and TransnetBW. ACER’s decision introduces minimal changes to fallback procedures in order to improve legal clarity and enforceability. Most importantly, instead of five different shadow allocation rules, only a single set of rules is adopted by the Agency, which specifies in its decision to which bidding zone borders these rules apply.

ACER has published its decision on the improvement of the fallback procedures proposed by the TSOs of the Core CCR

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> See ACER press release (html, with access to decision and consultation results)

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Direct coupling transformer for Upper Franconia

08.10.2018

The Ostbayernring power line from Upper Franconia to Upper Palatinate in the German state of Bavaria regularly reaches its limits due to the increasing feed-in of renewable energy. The transmission capacity of the Ostbayerring must therefore be significantly increased in order to guarantee future security of supply and grid stability. For this purpose, a highly efficient replacement construction is planned along the existing route. In the context of this Ostbayernring upgrade, also the Mechlenreuth substation in Münchberg is being renewed and expanded since spring 2018.

The substation is operated by TSCNET shareholder TenneT, the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO). It is a central hub for regional and supra-regional energy supply, as here the existing and in future the new Ostbayerring is connected to the subordinate 110 kV level of the distribution grid. The modernisation of the substation is making great progress: On 11 October 2018, a heavy-load rail transport system delivers a new direct coupling transformer with a transport weight of 254t to Mechlenreuth.

The 300MVA transformer is scheduled to go into operation in April 2019. Like the Ostbayernring itself, the substation cannot be switched off completely for a longer period of time in order to guarantee constant power supply. All the particular components will therefore be individually dismantled, newly erected and put back into operation in several construction phases and  during ongoing operation. The modification of the entire Mechlenreuth plant should be completed in 2023.

TenneT expects the delivery of a direct coupling transformer to the Ostbayernring substation in Mechlenreuth (picture of a previous transformer transport: TenneT)

Linkup
> See TenneT press release, in German (html)

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