TransnetBW’s grid booster confirmed

22.12.2019

Power generation in Germany is changing rapidly in the course of the energy transition and increasingly large amounts of renewable electricity must be transmitted from the north and east to the south and west. If the generated electricity exceeds line capacities, the four German transmission system operators (TSOs) have to perform costly redispatch measures. The grid infrastructure clearly needs expansion, for which the four German transmission system operators (TSOs) have conceived the “Network Development Plan (NDP) 2030”, the 2019 version of which was published this spring. To minimise the need for grid extension and cut redispatch costs, the NDP includes innovations that could result from technological progress in the coming years. In addition to Power-to-X and monitoring systems, prototypes of so-called grid boosters are also considered.

TSCNET shareholder TransnetBW, the TSO from the southwest of Germany, plans a grid booster pilot at the Kupferzell substation near Schwäbisch-Hall in the German federal state of Baden-Württemberg. The concept includes a fast power source in the shape of a large battery at the end of a line section that is subject to frequent strain and overload, which applies to the Kupferzell grid node. The grid booster that is envisaged, one of three in the NDP, will have an output of 250MW. The booster battery can supply energy within a few seconds. In periods of high grid load, the booster is intended to relieve the system in case of disturbances until the bottleneck can be eliminated in a targeted manner by the system management.

The Federal Network Agency (Bundesnetzagentur), the competent authority, has now approved the booster plans of TransnetBW. With this confirmation by the agency, the project can enter the procedure for inclusion in the Federal Requirements Plan, the government list of essential projects for the sustainable energy future of Germany. TransnetBW considers the grid booster to be a great opportunity to design and operate the grid infrastructure efficiently in the long term and is investing a high multi-digit million-euro amount in this environmentally friendly storage technology.

The Federal Network Agency confirms the plans of TransnetBW for a grid booster at the Kupferzell grid node (illustration using a picture of TransnetBW)

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> See TransnetBW press release, in German (html)

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TSO proposals on capacity balancing submitted

20.12.2019

In December 2017, the European Commission Regulation establishing a guideline for electricity balancing came into force. The European transmission system operators (TSOs) were given two years to prepare two proposals aimed at promoting market integration through the procurement and use of standard products for capacity balancing in an efficient, economic and market-based manner. Considering feedback from stakeholders, public consultations and workshops, these two proposals have now been submitted by the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) to the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER).

The “Proposal for a methodology for co-optimised allocation process of cross-zonal capacity for the exchange of balancing capacity or sharing of reserve” specifies how cross-zonal capacity should be allocated in a single optimisation process to bids for energy exchange as well as for the exchange of balancing energy or the sharing of reserves. The process suggested involves contracting on a day-ahead basis and meets the requirements of the “Clean Energy for All Europeans Package”.

The “Proposal for a list of standard products for balancing capacity for frequency restoration reserves and replacement reserves” details the minimum harmonisation criteria for the exchange of balancing capacity set by all TSOs. To respect the specific conditions of each region, additional characteristics may be defined and harmonised by two or more TSOs deciding to jointly provide balancing capacity.

ENTSO-E stresses that substantial work still needs to be done on the implementation and application of these proposals. Close interaction between neighbouring TSOs is essential for the establishment of balancing capacity cooperation.

ENTSO-E has submitted two TSO proposals on capacity balancing to ACER (picture showing Ljubljana, capital of Slovenia and home of ACER)

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Swissgrid and hydropower storage plants agree on minimum production

20.12.2019

To avoid an overload of grid elements in western Switzerland during the winter holidays, TSCNET shareholder Swissgrid, the Swiss transmission system operator (TSO), has agreed upon a minimum production with selected regional hydropower storage plants. This is intended to reduce the potential increased and costly need for redispatch during these low-consumption days.

The measure is also necessary because the availability of the transformer at the Bassecourt substation in the canton of Jura is currently limited and the new transformer at Mühleberg in the canton of Berne has not yet been fully installed. Both projects will be implemented in spring 2020. The agreed minimum production in the period from 20 December 2019 to 6 January 2020 is 200MW (off-peak) and 400MW (peak).

Swissgrid has negotiated minimum production from hydropower storage plants

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> See Swissgrid news release (html)

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€2.9bn for Austria’s grid infrastructure

19.12.2019

Grid expansion planning needs to be transparent and internationally coordinated. Each TSCNET shareholder complies with this and the Austrian transmission system operator (TSO) APG has just implemented these principles with its Network Development Plan 2019 (NDP2019). The thoroughly designed NDP has now been approved by E-Control, the government regulator for electricity and natural gas markets in Austria.

APG will invest €2.9bn over the next ten years to ensure the security of supply and the grid in Austria. Many investments are related to the decarbonisation of Austria and the implementation of the Austrian energy and climate strategy “#mission2030”, which sets the national goal of covering 100% of electricity consumption with renewable energies by 2030. Gerhard Christiner, CTO of APG, explains that “many energy-intensive industrial and commercial enterprises will switch to electricity from renewable sources”. This requires extension measures and the NDP defines the infrastructure projects necessary to facilitate the transmission of the required electricity over the next ten years.

In addition to the very important Salzburg line (“Salzburgleitung”) and the Weinviertel Line (“Weinviertelleitung”) in Lower Austria, transmission capacities and power supply in the central Upper Austria region must be extended. To this end, a feed-in concept was developed for industrial customers. Also important is the speedy expansion of transmission capacities between Austria and Germany and between Austria and Italy.

The Austrian NDP2019 has been approved by the competent government regulator (picture: APG)

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> See APG press release (html)

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Multi Regional Coupling expanded by the end of 2020

17.12.2019

The Multi Regional Coupling (MRC) of the European electricity market is to be substantially enhanced by connecting the so-called 4M Market Coupling Countries (4M MC), i.e. the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia, to the Europe-wide MRC. This will establish Single Day-Ahead Coupling across 23 European countries.

In preparation for this market integration, the so-called Interim Coupling Project (DE-AT-PL-4M MC Project) was launched. It has now completed the design phase and is entering the implementation phase. This provides the Nominated Electricity Market Operators (NEMOs) and transmission system operators (TSOs) from Austria (APG), Germany (50Hertz, Amprion, TenneT, and TransnetBW), Poland (PSE) and the 4M MC countries (ČEPS, MAVIR, Transelectrica and SEPS) with a sound basis for announcing the MRC inclusion for the third quarter of 2020.

The AT-PL-4M MC Project introduces implicit capacity allocation based on Net Transfer Capacity (NTC) at six borders (PL-DE, PL-CZ, PL-SK, CZ-DE, CZ-AT, HU-AT). The competent National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs) welcome the progress made and the synergies from the project, which will facilitate the introduction of Flow-Based Market Coupling in the Core Capacity Calculation Region (Core CCR), which is the ultimate target.

The AT-PL-4M MC project for integrating Czechia, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia into MRC has entered the implementation phase.

Linkup
> See PSE press release (html)
> See SEPS press release (html)
> Open joint press release (pdf, 216.14kB)

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Precise prognoses with AI

11.12.2019

In the control area of the German transmission system operator (TSO) 50Hertz in northern and eastern Germany, the installed capacity of renewable energies is particularly high. Since renewable energy in Germany is typically generated at a considerable distance from the centres of consumption and thus must be transmitted over long distances, the transmission losses for 50Hertz are correspondingly high. In 2018, the TSCNET shareholder transmitted a total of 117TWh of electricity and the losses amounted to 2.5TWh which corresponds to 2%.

TSOs must compensate for these losses through costly feed-in measures. 50Hertz spent around €70m in 2018 on compensatory electricity and has a keen interest in predicting losses more accurately and purchasing electricity for compensation at lower cost on the electricity market. Therefore, 50Hertz has developed a new prognosis model based on Artificial Intelligence (AI).

The previous model was based on forecasts for the expected feed-in of wind and solar power and a comparison with similar days in the past. For the new model, 50Hertz provided a much larger database: At 70 different locations in the 50Hertz control area, data on the feed-in of renewables as well as on the amount of wind, insolation and temperature are collected every quarter of an hour. With this enormous quantity of data, the artificial neural network is to calculate a transmission loss forecast for the following day, also with an accuracy of 15 minutes. The forecasts are then compared with the actual grid losses and the algorithm is automatically adjusted. This process is repeated thousands of times and the forecasts become more and more accurate.

The neural network has been in the test phase since the end of June 2019. Since then, the data has been cleansed and a database has been built so that the AI algorithm has been continuously improved and highly reliable prognoses can now be created. Since 9 December, the model is fully applied and used operationally at 50Hertz.

50Hertz has developed an AI based forecast model for grid losses (picture: 50Hertz)

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> See 50Hertz press release (html)

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Final MIGRATE conference

10.12.2019

The MIGRATE project (“Massive InteGRATion of power Electronic devices”) is the largest TSO project funded by the European Commission. It was launched in 2016 in the framework of the Horizon 2020 programme. Among the 23 partners of the consortium from 13 European countries are twelve universities/labs, one manufacturer and ten transmission system operators (TSOs), including the TSCNET shareholders Amprion (Germany), ELES (Slovenia) and the Dutch-German TSO TenneT. Under the coordination of TenneT, the partners have researched technology-based solutions for an optimised linking of electricity generation and consumption by means of power electronics.

After four years of intensive work, the MIGRATE project will be successfully concluded by the end of 2019, implying that all project partners have developed innovative solutions in their respective areas of responsibility to gradually adapt the pan-European high-voltage AC transmission system to the requirements resulting from the increasing share of renewable energies and power electronic devices. At a final conference on 4 December in Brussels, the individual outcomes were presented to colleagues and anyone wishing to learn more about the power system stabilisation and grid monitoring capabilities. The keynote speech was given by Laurent Schmitt, Secretary General of the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E).

The final conference of the MIGRATE project was held in Brussels on 4 December (picture of the ELES delegation with presenter Dr. Blaž Kirn (third from right): ELES)

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> See ELES press release (html)
> Visit MIGRATE website (html)

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525kV technology for Germany’s “power highways”

04.12.2019

SuedLink, SuedOstLink and A-Nord are large-scale DC connection projects that are essential for Germany’s low-carbon energy future, since these so-called “Stromautobahnen” (power highways) will transport green electricity generated in the north and east of the country to the consumption centres in the south and west. The three power lines will be implemented predominantly via underground cabling and are collaborative efforts of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs). TenneT and TransnetBW cooperate on SuedLink, 50Hertz and TenneT join forces on SuedOstLink and A-Nord is carried out by Amprion. Together with Ultranet, a joint project with TransnetBW, A-Nord forms the Korridor A.

The four TSCNET shareholders intend to install innovative plastic-insulated DC cables with a voltage level of 525kV in these projects. So far, 320kV cables have been used for comparable DC connections in Germany. As a matter of fact, it will be the first use of 525kV underground cables worldwide, which underlines the pilot character of the three high-performance connections. The decision by the TSOs was preceded by an extensive test phase on the technical suitability of the 525kV cables. The pre-qualification tests according to international standards of the Council on Large Electric Systems (CIGRE) were successful and proved that the 525kV cables are reliable and safe.

A higher voltage level of the cables translates into more transmission capacity. This has two possible effects for the planned DC lines, assuming technical feasibility for the entire system: On the one hand, more electricity can be transmitted in a certain corridor with the same number of cables. On the other hand, fewer cables are required to transmit the same power compared to 320kV cable systems. This allows the routing to be designed narrower, which reduces excavation work and environmental impact.

The four German TSOs opt for innovative 525kV solution for power highways with underground cabling (picture: TenneT)

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

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Enterprise Architecture from Colombian Caribbean

04.12.2019

Miguel Ospina, the new Enterprise Architect in our Service Development Business Unit, is originally from Barranquilla, Colombia. You don’t know that place? Maybe you do: The famous singer Shakira sang about her birthplace in her worldwide No. 1 hit “Hips don’t lie” and in the work of the Nobel Prize winner Gabriel García Márquez, who spent part of his childhood and many years as a journalist in this city of millions in the northwest of the country, there are many descriptions of the lively commercial and industrial city, which is also known as one of the world’s largest carnival strongholds.

But back to Miguel! The 32-year-old has a bachelor’s degree in Systems Engineering and a postgraduate degree in Enterprise Software Architecture. He then received the TOGAF certification (The Open Group Architecture Framework) and earned his master’s degree in Business Information Technology in 2018. As an Enterprise Architect at TSCNET Services, he strives to bring best practices for this discipline to life across the enterprise.

He has the experience to do this: Previously, Miguel worked as a Software Architect for an insurance related company and defined the roadmap and architecture of various relevant products such as underwriting and claims systems. Most recently, he worked for an airline as an Enterprise Architect leader and was responsible for business areas such as customer experience, marketing, and e-commerce. This also involved shaping the roadmap and governance for these areas, such as information systems and technology, and important future projects, such as digital transformation and e-commerce.

Miguel, a travel enthusiast, appreciates the fact that he is familiar with various industries and can now apply this experience to the energy sector and help shape TSCNET’s future architecture. We wish him all the best for his career with us and look forward to his work – fortunately, it does not have to be another world hit or a Nobel Prize in the end.

Miguel Ospina is the new Enterprise Architect in our Service Development Business Unit

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Variable shunt reactor for SINCRO.GRID

03.12.2019

The two transmission system operators (TSOs) and TSCNET shareholders ELES from Slovenia and HOPS from Croatia are cooperating in SINCRO.GRID. This cross-border smart grid initiative is coordinated by ELES and comprises in addition to the TSOs also two distribution system operators (DSOs) from both countries. The objective of the European Project of Common Interest (PCI) is to optimise the efficiency of the respective national transmission systems by means of advanced technologies and innovative data processing methods.

Since the substantial allocation of EU funding to SINCRO.GRID under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) programme in 2017, the project has made significant progress. A vital component of SINCRO.GRID is optimising and installing compensation devices for reactive power control, e.g. variable shunt reactors, which are used in high-voltage transmission systems for voltage stabilisation during load variations. Now the ELES substation in Divača in south-eastern Slovenia has been equipped with such a technically advanced device manufactured by Siemens in Austria. The assembly work is in full swing and is expected to be completed by 12 December. Preparatory work for commissioning will then commence immediately.

Another major component of SINCRO.GRID is a dynamic thermal rating system for power grid operating limits. The aim is to evaluate marginal capacities of transmission system components considering weather influences and thus to improve operational safety and utilisation of overhead lines and transformers. In addition to hard- and software in control centres, atmospheric measuring devices, which are installed directly at the pylons, are also part of the system. Corresponding tests of innovative weather stations are underway. Last week, the substructure for the weather station on the Kleče-Divača overhead line was field tested.

SINCRO.GRID advances technical innovations (picture: ELES)

Linkup
> See ELES press release (html)
> Visit SINCRO.GRID website (html)

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