Tested and proven: Welcome, Stefan!

01.12.2020

A test engineer sets up the process to ensure that a product meets the applicable specifications. This is how you can find out about it on Wikipedia. Many put it in an even shorter formula: Without testing there is no quality. And in a company like ours, which serves the security of electricity supply, this applies all the more. It is therefore of crucial importance for TSCNET Services to identify and contain risks at an early stage. Today, we are introducing our new team member Stefan Agovski, who has been working as a test engineer in the Portfolio Management business unit since the beginning of September and is concentrating on test activities related to “AMICA”, our “advanced multisite integral congestion assessment module”, which is used to process almost all data.

25-year-old Stefan comes from the Republic of North Macedonia and graduated with an M.Sc. in Energy Science and Technology from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich. During his studies he was able to gain a variety of professional insights into the world of electrical engineering. He completed a six-month internship at the Swiss-Swedish company ABB, where he worked in the power grid division in the department for fibre current transformers and carried out extensive research work together with his team. Stefan also gained experience at the interface between business and science and held a teaching assistant position at his university in the course “Case Studies: Energy Systems and Technology” for two semesters. Thanks to the design of the course, his role also included project management, thus enabling him to better understand how academic knowledge can be used effectively in different business scenarios.

Now he wants to put his academic and practical knowledge into practice. TSCNET is a great starting point for his career, he tells us: “I chose TSCNET because it is very close to my interests, both from a business perspective and in terms of corporate values.” At the same time, it allows him to deepen his understanding of the energy and electricity world.

In his private life, Stefan is an avid sportsman and enjoys basketball and hiking in the great outdoors (how well the sport gets along with his love of chocolate is something the new colleagues can tickle out in a confidential conversation with him). He also enjoys visiting art exhibitions. “Everybody can do testing, but only a tester does good testing”, is a popular quote from Melissa Eaden, the author of “30 Things Every New Software Tester Should Learn”. When art appreciation and fitness are added to this, nothing can really go wrong.

Stefan Agovski has started as a Test Engineer in our Business Unit Portfolio Management

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The mother of all comebacks? Markéta is back!

17.11.2020

This may sound strange considering her young age, but today we are announcing the return of a veteran from TSCNET Services: Markéta Irová is back from maternity leave! The Czech native, who enjoys hiking, jogging, cycling, snowboarding or canoeing in her spare time, joined us as a Management Assistant shortly after the start in 2013 and experienced first-hand the big initial steps from TSC TSOs – Joint Office in a more provisional setting to a well-functioning Regional Security Coordinator (RSC) with a wide range of services. At the end of 2015 she went on maternity leave and is now – as the mother of two great kids – resuming her office work.

Markéta received a degree in Nature Conservation from the Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague in 2012. As part of her graduate studies she also took part in an exchange programme in the field of Global Change Management with the University for Sustainable Development in Eberswalde, Brandenburg, only about 60 km from bustling Berlin. After graduation, Markéta worked in an assistant position in the Prague office of Unicorn, a software company with which we have been cooperating since our foundation.

Motherhood times two, at least …
Before her maternity leave, Markéta was often referred to as the “office mom” or “good soul of TSCNET” because of her friendly, helpful nature. Her patience and gentleness were probably at least as beneficial to her as a young mom of her very lively boys as they were in the office. But her new role also taught her many new things, from identifying different toy model cars to interpersonal skills and finding the right balance between authority and leniency. With all her new abilities and highly motivated, Markéta is now returning to her old place of work.

“I love to be surrounded by motivated and friendly people who work to make our lives more sustainable and connected. TSCNET is the perfect place for this, also because the Clean Energy Package will shape our work in the future”. She also appreciates the diversity in our company and with her language skills – besides Czech and English, Markéta speaks German and Slovakian – she fits in seamlessly. In her role she will support her colleagues in administrative and organisational matters and ensure that all processes run smoothly. Furthermore, she will continue to listen to all concerns and assist her co-workers. A saying from her home country fits perfectly: “Dobrá rada nad zlato” – “good advice is better than gold”.

Back at TSCNET Services: Markéta Irová

Linkup
> See Markéta’s LinkedIn profile (html)

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Challenges of the green transition in Denmark

05.11.2020

In Denmark, as in Europe in general, the energy transition presents new and challenging tasks for the players in the energy sector. To improve the information basis and to prepare adequately for these challenges, TSCNET customer Energinet, the Danish transmission system operator (TSO), has created two reports on long-term development needs in the Danish energy system. There are two reports, as Energinet is not only the national TSO for electricity, but also for gas.

The forecasts in “Long-term Development Needs in the Power Grid” are similar to those of other European TSOs and allow similar conclusions. Not surprisingly, Denmark, as a world leader in renewable energy, needs to make even greater efforts to integrate these amounts of energy from renewable sources. In concrete terms, the TSO expects that by 2040 the maximum generation of wind turbines and solar cells could increase from 7.4GW today to perhaps 26GW. Such a tripling or quadrupling will cause problems for the current high-voltage grid, which is not designed to transmit such large amounts of energy.

Some challenges may not be due for 10-20 years, but others are already on the doorstep. In some places in Denmark, large-scale local production from wind and solar energy is already putting a considerable strain on the power grid. Hanne Storm Edlefsen, Head of the Strategic Planning division in Energinet Elsystemansvar, the TSO’s electricity system operator branch, emphasises the need for cooperation at all economic, political, and social levels to make the green transition a success and, for example, to ensure that “a doubling of electricity demand does not mean twice as many power pylons and overhead lines”.

The analyses show, among other things, the locations in Denmark where high-voltage grid extensions are required, either as underground cables or overhead lines. However, Edlefsen also points to other solution approaches beyond mere expansion: The proper placement of wind farms or large photovoltaic systems can reduce the need for grid reinforcement. And electrolysis plants of the future, which convert green electricity into hydrogen and other green fuels, could be located close to major green generation units so that electricity need not be transported across the country.

Energinet has presented two reports on the Danish long-term development needs in the power grid and in the gas system (picture: Energinet)

Linkup
> See Energinet press release (html)
>Open report on needs in the power grid (pdf, 7.42MB)

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TransnetBW starts modernisation of Daxlanden substation

04.11.2020

The Daxlanden substation near Karlsruhe is an important node in the transmission grid of TransnetBW, the German transmission system operator (TSO) from the federal state of Baden-Württemberg. It is also the central link between two 380kV grid reinforcement projects included in the German National Grid Development Plan for Electricity. To prepare the substation for its future tasks, the TSCNET shareholder began with the upgrade and expansion of Daxlanden at the beginning of November.

The preparatory works will be completed in spring 2021, after which the TSO will start to replace the existing 380kV outdoor switchgear with two new gas insulated switchgears (GIS). For the Daxlanden GIS facilities, the TransnetBW has opted for the so-called Clean Air technology, which exclusively uses processed air as an insulating medium instead of sulfur hexafluoride (SF6). The greenhouse effect of the switchgear is thus radically reduced. Alongside this, the 220kV line between the Daxlanden and Eichstetten substations will be substituted by a 380kV line. The first switchgear is scheduled to be commissioned in 2024 and the second in 2027. The entire installation and grid connections are expected to be completed in 2030.

TransnetBW has commenced the modernisation of the Daxlanden substation (computer simulation of the future Daxlanden substation: TransnetBW)

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

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Transmission capacity and renewable generation do not match

03.11.2020

The Austrian transmission system operator (TSO) APG has been monitoring the development of the electricity market since the beginning of the corona crisis and regularly publishes charts on topics such as energy exchange, electricity consumption in Austria and Europe, or electricity imports and exports. A look at the September charts of the TSCNET shareholder reveals, on the one hand, the strong role that renewable energies are already playing in Austria and have also continued to play during the pandemic. On the other hand, this particularly good generation from hydropower, wind, and photovoltaic plants could not be fully exploited due to the lack of transmission capacity.

“The streamflow of the Danube accounts for the majority of the run-of-river hydroelectricity generation, which this year has ranged 40 percent above the longtime average on several days. This is the reason why Austria is currently still able to export electricity,” explains Thomas Karall, CFO of APG. However, the insufficient use of renewable energies is also evident from the statistics of APG, especially regarding redispatch. Until the end of September, redispatch measures had to be carried out almost daily. This resulted in costs amounting to around €103m. „This figure shows the importance of the timely realisation of grid expansion and renovation measures – in particular of the Salzburg Line”, concludes Karall. The Salzburg Line (“Salzburgleitung“) is currently APG’s most important infrastructure project and crucial for the integration of renewables.

The September energy charts of APG show solid renewable generation and insufficient transmission capacity (picture showing the Austrian hydroelectric power station Gössendorf in the south of Graz: Eduard Aldrian)

Linkup
> See APG press release (html)
> Visit APG infographics site (html)

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Construction progress for Oradea-Békéscsaba line

02.11.2020

In July 2020, the Romanian transmission system operator (TSO) and TSCNET shareholder Transelectrica finally was able to award the construction contract for the missing section of the 400kV Oradea-Békéscsaba power line. For more than ten years, the completion of the overhead line in the far west of Romania has been prevented due to unsettled property issues concerning this section, namely between the Oradea South substation and Nădab. Now that the ownership concerns have been resolved, the investment in the new line will ensure interconnection capacity in the region. Transelectrica expects the construction works to be completed by summer 2021.

Closing this transmission gap is important to Romania’s overall security of supply because the commissioning of the last 72 kilometres between the Romanian town Nădab and the Hungarian border town Békéscsaba not only completes the Oradea-Békéscsaba overhead line, but also contributes to the closure of the “400 kV Ring” in western Romania, a priority energy objective for Romania. The new line will also enable Transelectrica to reduce congestions and thus save considerable intervention costs. As regards European market integration, Romania’s interconnection capacity will be increased by 100MW in export and 300MW in import direction.

The management of Transelectrica represented by the Chairman of the TSO’s Directorate, Cătălin Nițu, and the members of the Directorate, Andreea Miu and Bogdan Marcu, have now informed themselves personally about the progress of the construction work. Mr Nițu emphasised the particular importance of the project for the Romanian energy landscape and the European electricity market

The management of Transelectrica has assessed the construction progress of the last section of the 400kV Oradea-Békéscsaba overhead line (picture: Transelectrica)

Linkup
> See Transelectrica press release, in Romanian (pdf, 188.5kb)

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New intraday products on German, French and Benelux borders under SIDC

29.10.2020

The European Transmission System Operators (TSOs) are jointly striving for an integrated European electricity market. A key component for market integration is cross-border Single Intraday Coupling (SIDC), which was introduced in June 2018, then called XBID. SIDC aims to increase the overall efficiency of intraday trading through effective competition, increased liquidity, and more efficient use of generation resources. Further progress has now been made along the path to a common market: On 10 December 2020, the competent Nominated Electricity Market Operators (NEMOs), the Belgian and French TSOs Elia and RTE and the two TSCNET shareholders Amprion, one of the four German TSOs, and TenneT, the Dutch-German TSO, will launch new cross-border intraday products at the borders of the bidding zones between Belgium, Germany, France, and the Netherlands.

In concrete terms, 30-minute cross-border products are to be introduced in intraday continuous trading at the Belgian-French border and 15 and 30-minute cross-border products at the Belgian-German, Belgian-Dutch and Dutch-German borders. With the introduction of these intraday products, the TSOs fulfil their obligation to offer cross-zonal capacity for SIDC at their borders with least common multiple of the imbalance settlement periods (ISP) and this on both sides of the respective bidding zone borders. This innovation should improve the possibilities for imbalance management by market parties, closer to real time, as market participants will be able to sell or buy cross-border products with the same resolution as the ISPs of the Belgian, Dutch, French, and German-Luxembourg bidding zones.

Moreover, Belgian and Dutch market participants will then have access to the existing market liquidity of 15-minute products in Germany and Austria and 30-minute products in Germany and France respectively, where these cross-border products have already been established. The XBID platform for SIDC comprises a common IT system with a shared order book, a capacity management module, and a shipping module. Via this platform, the new products will be available for cross-border trade in Belgium and the Netherlands from 10 December 2020 and will complement the currently existing 60-minute cross-border products. Bids for 15-minute and 30-minute products will be included in the NEMOs’ shared order books.

As SIDC represents a pan-European solution, numerous TSCNET shareholders are involved in the solution for market integration. In addition to the above mentioned TSOs, 50Hertz, APG, ČEPS, ELES, HOPS, MAVIR, PSE, SEPS, Transelectrica, and TransnetBW as well as several TSCNET customers are also part of SIDC.

New cross-border intraday products will be launched in December 2020 under SIDC

Linkup
> See Amprion press release (html)
> See TenneT press release (html)

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Knowledge passion – welcome, Adrian!

28.10.2020

The European power grid is the largest synchronous electricity network in the world and ensuring its smooth operation is no easy task. It requires dedication, expertise and of course teamwork. Our latest addition shares this understanding and is highly motivated to contribute his knowledge to TSCNET Services: On October 1, Adrian Mihai Constantin joined the Service Operations Business Unit as Operations Manager. His main objective in his new position is to contribute to the development of the company’s tools and services and to participate in the activities related to the Clean Energy for All Europeans package (CEP), which will have a significant impact on the EU energy sector and thus on our tasks and responsibilities. This makes Adrian the ideal complement, whose passion is as great as his experience in this field, as his academic and professional background shows.

The 30-year-old Romanian graduated from the Polytechnic University of Bucharest with a Master’s degree in Energy Engineering. After graduation, he started his professional career at the Romanian transmission system operator (TSO) Transelectrica, one of our 14 shareholders, where he worked for six years in total. Adrian started his tenure as Power System Engineer in the Operational Planning Department and remained in this position for almost one and a half years. Eager to broaden his knowledge and skills, he then moved to Transelectrica’s National Dispatching Centre, where he spent four and a half years as a dispatcher. During his time there, he had the opportunity to control the installations in real time and to gain a thorough understanding of what it means to be part of “the largest and most complex man-made machine in the world”, the European interconnected network. He now wants to use his skills to take up a new challenge at TSCNET.

When asked about the reasons for his decision to join our company, Adrian replies: “I chose TSCNET because its values and multicultural environment resonate greatly with me, just like the fast-growing service offering and the ambitions of the company. Here I can develop in my area of expertise and learn many new things. It also makes me proud to be able to contribute to what will be ‘the biggest change in the energy sector’ – the CEP implementation.” In Romania there is a strong saying when you courageously enter into a venture: “To take your heart in your teeth”. Usually you don’t have to be so biting in our work, but given the challenges on our way to becoming a Regional Coordination Centre (RCC) according to CEP, it could still be very helpful.

Adrian Mihai Constantin joined TSCNET as Operations Manager

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Middle Axis increases capacity sevenfold

27.10.2020

Since the 60s of the 20th century, a 220kV overhead line has been in operation between Hamburg and Denmark, thus crossing Schleswig-Holstein, the northernmost of the German federal states, in its entirety. Schleswig-Holstein is a true “wind power state” in terms of generation, but consumes very little energy in comparison to the southern and western German states. The green electricity produced here therefore has to be transmitted to the centres of consumption. As a result of the energy transition with increasing shares of wind energy, the capacity of the old line has long since been insufficient, resulting in grid bottlenecks. The Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO) TenneT, whose control area includes the state between the North and the Baltic Sea, thus has replaced the old line with a new 380kV line capable of transmitting seven times as much green electricity.

The new overhead line is called Middle Axis (“Mittelachse”), as it is flanked by two other line projects of the TSCNET shareholder, the East-Coast-Line and the West-Coast-Line. On the Danish side of the border, the Danish TSCNET customer Energinet continues the Middle Axis from Frøslev to the Kassø substation, thereby increasing the electricity trading capacity between Denmark and Germany. On 21 October, TenneT put officially into operation the two northern sections of the Middle Axis between the Audorf substation near Rendsburg and the border with Denmark. With a symbolic push of a button at the substation Handewitt near Flensburg, Thomas Bareiß, Parliamentary State Secretary at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, Jan Philipp Albrecht, Minister of Energy, Agriculture, the Environment, Nature and Digitalisation of Schleswig-Holstein, Henrik Riis, CEO of Energinet-Eltransmission, and TenneT COO Tim Meyerjürgens connected the new 82 kilometres long power line to the grid.

The southern section of the Middle Axis from Hamburg/North to Audorf with a length of 70 kilometres was commissioned by TenneT in early 2018. Since 2015, a total of 388 new pylons have been erected along 152 kilometres between Hamburg/North and the border with Denmark, including the required substations Audorf/South, Schuby/West and Handewitt. The extension of the line by Energinet across the border by 30 kilometres into the Danish grid area increases security of supply for both the German and Danish electricity markets and enables the exchange of renewable energy between the two countries.

Tim Meyerjürgens explained: “With the 82 kilometres from Audorf to the Danish border, we are completing the important Middle Axis in the energy transition region of Schleswig-Holstein for the transmission of electricity from renewable sources between the river Elbe and Denmark.” Henrik Riis added: “The Middle Axis is a tremendous success, and it provides a new, continuous electricity highway that runs all the way from Denmark to Hamburg and on to Lower Saxony across the river Elbe. A strong cross-border infrastructure and well-functioning energy markets are essential for all of us – both at national and European level – to shape a future with high security of supply, large amounts of renewable energy and an efficient green energy transition.”

TenneT and Energinet commissioned the northern section of the Middle Axis, a new 380kV line from Denmark to Hamburg (picture showing from right to left Thomas Bareiß, Henrik Riis, Tim Meyerjürgens and Philipp Albrecht at the far left: TenneT)

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

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Cascade process of C/sells demonstrated successfully

25.10.2020

59 partners cooperate in the southern German smart grid project C/sells, including research institutions, distribution system operators (DSOs), municipal utilities, generators, service providers and consultants in the energy and IT sector – and the two TSCNET shareholders TransnetBW, the south-west German transmission system operator (TSO), and TenneT, the Dutch-German TSO. The aim of C/sells is to make the energy infrastructure renewable, decentralised, flexible, and participatory. The focus here is on the intelligent networking of generation and consumption and the use of innovative grid technologies and operating concepts. The “cell” is the basic unit of C/sells. It can be of a geographical nature, such as a city or district, or it can be a single object, such as an airport or even a single property. These “cells” assume a variety of functions and tasks that serve to stabilise the grid and provide flexibility. C/sells is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy in the framework of the innovation programme “Smart Energy Showcases” (“Schaufenster intelligente Energie” – SINTEG).

TransnetBW now reports a significant progress for C/sells, because together with the municipal utility of Schwäbisch Hall in the in the German state of Baden-Württemberg and the DSO Netze BW, the partially automated cascade process of C/sells was demonstrated live. A cascade process is usually understood as any process that takes place in a series of steps, and in this case, it is the step-by-step control of plants from downstream networks to remedy critical grid situations in an emergency. In the demonstration of 21 October, a simulated threat to system balancing was resolved by means of the partially automated cascade process and an intelligent measurement system. In the process, facilities were controlled right down to the lowest voltage level. The selected scenario was a realistic situation and required the cooperation of all grid operators.

The demonstration was based on the coordinated power grid cascade developed in C/sells which defines clear rules and processes for the respective grid operators. By means of control centre coupling, information on the state of the grid is continuously exchanged across all voltage levels. Several defined signal phases visualise the grid status in the control centres involved and indicate the measures to be derived from it. Thanks to the communication technology coupling of TransnetBW and Netze BW and the bidirectional exchange of information in real time, emergency situations can now be mastered jointly across voltage levels within just a few minutes. Dr. Rainer Enzenhöfer of TransnetBW and sub-project manager of C/sells comments on the successful demonstration: “With the partial automation of the cascade, it is possible, together with DSOs, to control a large number of decentralised plants in a simple and uncomplicated manner within a very short time in order to eliminate a critical grid situation.”

TransnetBW and its partners successfully demonstrated the cascade process of the C/sells smart grid project (picture: C/sells)

Linkup
> See TransnetBW press release, in German (html)
> Visit C/sells website (html)

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