Successful test run of SINCRO.GRID’s VVC function

07.10.2020

SINCRO.GRID is a smart grid project of the two transmission system operators (TSOs) HOPS from Croatia and ELES from Slovenia. With SINCRO.GRID, the two TSCNET shareholders are responding to the increasing lack of flexibility and reactive power in the transmission system, which in Croatia and Slovenia, as in many parts of Europe, results from the increasing integration of decentralised, volatile renewable energy sources (RES). Two distribution system operators (DSOs) from the respective countries are also involved in the European Project of Common Interest (PCI). The aim of the project partners is to optimise grid efficiency via advanced technologies and innovative data processing, including compensation devices, a dynamic thermal rating system, a battery power storage system, and a virtual cross-border control centre.

As HOPS reports, an important step has been taken towards the establishment of the binational SINCRO.GRID control centre, whose prime task is to integrate reactive power compensation devices in Croatia and Slovenia into a joint operation to fully exploit their synergy potential. The centre will thus enable voltage control and loss optimisation in transmission systems, better control and forecasting of electricity generation from RES, and the participation of RES in the provision of ancillary services.

On 30 September 2020, the SINCRO.GRID Q-U system with Volt Var Control (VVC) function was operated for the first time in fully automatic closed loop for four hours without any human intervention. All calculated VVC data were automatically sent by the Q-U system to seven transformers in three HOPS substations, optimising the transmission network in north-western Croatia. After successful testing in fully automatic mode, the test was continued in semi-automatic mode with transformers and two generators in one power station. The information and experience obtained from the test run will be used for the further analysis of the Q-U system and its application to the whole Croatian transmission system and finally for the implementation of the HOPS-ELES virtual cross-border control centre.

HOPS has carried out a successful test run of the Q-U system with VVC function within the SINCRO.GRID project (picture: HOPS)

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

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ČEPS half-year report: progress despite pandemic

06.10.2020

The development of European electricity infrastructure cannot be delayed, even in the event of a pandemic. The Czech transmission system operator (TSO) ČEPS has therefore continued in the first half of 2020 – and thus in times of Covid-19 – to comprehensively expand the national transmission system to meet new customer requirements as well as demands arising from international cooperation in the electricity market and to keep pace with the changes in the energy landscape. Notwithstanding the increased challenges, the Czech transmission system was as reliable and efficient as usual during the unforeseen circumstances of the six months and the TSCNET shareholder transmitted 32,000GWh of power.

In the reporting period, the income of ČEPS increased, but also the expenses due to the corona pandemic. This was mainly caused by the need to purchase power balancing services to cope with the decline in electricity consumption during the tense economic situation. Nevertheless, with total revenues increasing in the first half of 2020 compared to the same period of the previous year by nearly CZK 1.1bn to CZK 13,002.5m (about €479,243m), the TSO managed to make a respectable profit of CZK 1.8bn (about €66,344m). “In a year-on-year comparison, total sales from sold licensed services grew the most. After disregarding MC shipping, they accounted for 98% of our total revenues,” explains Martin Durčák, Chairman of the Board of Directors of ČEPS.

ČEPS reports positive figures despite the Covid-19 pandemic for the first half of 2020 (picture: ČEPS)

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> See ČEPS press release (html)

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Automated intraday capacity allocation at Austrian-Swiss border

05.10.2020

The separation of the bidding zones of Germany (including Luxembourg) and Austria on 1 October 2018 has imposed additional tasks on the transmission system operators (TSOs) directly concerned and also on neighbouring TSOs, notably as regards congestion management. Bidding zones are areas where a wholesale electricity market price applies, and the AT-DE/LU separation resulted in increased demand for intraday cross-border capacity at the Austrian-Swiss border. The two TSCNET shareholders APG from Austria and Swissgrid, the TSO from Switzerland, have reacted to this changed market situation and introduced automated, platform-based intraday capacity allocation.

A border-specific solution was necessary because the Austrian-Swiss border cannot be integrated into Single Intraday Coupling (SIDC, originally introduced as XBID in 2018). Therefore, the intraday allocation of cross-border capacities is still carried out via explicit allocations, but now in an automated process. On 23 September 2020, with the first delivery on 24 September, telephone allocation was switched to a platform-based allocation. The IT platform used – Intraday Capacity Service (ICS) – allocates capacities in accordance with the “first come, first served” principle. After almost two weeks of automated allocation, the two TSOs consider the new, easier intraday trading procedure a success. Swissgrid has already been applying this more efficient allocation of cross-border volume on the Swiss borders with Germany and France.

APG and Swissgrid have successfully introduced automated intraday capacity allocation at the Austrian-Swiss border (picture of the Austrian-Swiss frontier at Diepoldsau/Lustenau: Rikki Mitterer on Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0)

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> See APG market information, in German (html)
> See Swissgrid news release (html)

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Wilhelmshaven-Conneforde line put in operation

05.10.2020

With the Wilhelmshaven-Conneforde line, the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO) TenneT has commissioned an important grid expansion project for the German and European energy transition. The 380kV line from the new substation Fedderwarden near Wilhelmshaven on the German North Sea coast to the Conneforde substation in Ammerland, both in the federal state of Lower Saxony, is not only crucial for the transmission of mainly wind power and electricity from regional generators, but also for strengthening security of supply in northern Lower Saxony. Furthermore, it represents a novelty for the TSCNET shareholder in terms of technical implementation: “With this new line, we have put into operation the first pilot project with two underground cable sections in three-phase technology and connected it to the meshed power grid in Germany,” explained Tim Meyerjürgens, COO of TenneT.

The commissioning ceremony on 2 October 2020 in Fedderwarden was attended by representatives from politics, including Andreas Feicht, State Secretary at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs, and Energy and Olaf Lies, Minister for the Environment, Energy, Construction, and Climate Protection of Lower Saxony. The new line is only about 30 kilometres long, but – together with the new construction of the Fedderwarden substation – “of great importance for the entire European electricity trade”, commented Olaf Lies. The Minister was impressed by TenneT’s latest milestone in the energy transition. State Secretary Feicht referred to the newly gained potential for integrating large amounts of wind power into the German electricity market and the technical relevance of the pilot project: “Knowledge obtained in such pilot projects about the construction and operation of the technology will be of great benefit for further power grid expansion in the future.”

The line project was successfully completed after less than two years of construction. Almost 5 kilometres of the line were implemented as underground cables. However, even if TenneT can be satisfied with what has been accomplished so far and is strongly committed to expanding the transmission of green electricity throughout its entire grid area, Meyerjürgens sees a need for further action, especially in view of the increasing offshore wind volumes: “Still, we already see today a further demand for expansion in the Wilhelmshaven and Friesland region.”

TenneT commissioned the new Wilhelmshaven-Conneforde line (picture: TenneT)

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> See TenneT press release, in German (html)

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Tunnel drilling for last section of the Nant de Drance connection

03.10.2020

The Nant de Drance pumped storage power plant in the Swiss canton of Valais is one of the most powerful power plants of its kind in Europe, generating around 2.5bn kWh per year, when it goes fully operational in 2021. The plant has been commissioned successively in sections in recent years. TSCNET shareholder Swissgrid, the Swiss transmission system operator (TSO), is responsible for connecting the power plant to the extra-high voltage grid and for transmitting the hydropower to urban areas in Switzerland. Two of the three sections of the extra-high voltage link to Nant de Drance – an underground cable of 6.5 kilometres between the power station and the Châtelard substation via the access tunnel of the plant and an overhead line of 12.5 kilometres between the Châtelard and La Bâtiaz substations – have been in operation since the end of November 2018.

Tunnel boring has now begun for the third and final section between the substations of La Bâtiaz and Le Verney, which belongs to the municipality of Martigny. The mini tunnel boring machine, weighing around 60 tonnes, was traditionally given a female name on 2 October 2020 at the construction site in Le Verney and will in future be known as Giorgia. Shortly after its christening, it was lowered into the shaft, where it will take around eight months to dig and secure the tunnel between the substations. The tunnel will have a diameter of 2.5m and is dug 12 to 20m deep into the ground. Giorgia is controlled entirely from the control centre at the construction site in Le Verney.

Construction of the underground cable link commenced in June 2020 with the excavation of the shaft at Le Verney and will take two years. The shaft at La Bâtiaz will be dug at the same time as tunnelling work. The finishing work in the tunnel will follow from summer 2021, after which the gantry to connect the Nant de Drance link to the 380kV Chamoson-Romanel overhead line in Le Verney will be built. Finally, the cables will be laid in the tunnel. Commissioning of the 1.2km long underground line is scheduled for 2022. Nant de Drance is already now connected to the transmission grid even before the last section of the link is commissioned: An interim solution was introduced in 2019 by increasing the voltage of one of the two overhead lines between La Bâtiaz and Le Rosel to 380kV.

Swissgrid has started tunnel drilling for the final section of the connection of Nant de Drance to the national 380kV grid (picture: Swissgrid)

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> See Swissgrid news release (html)

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Substantial EU funding for Harmony Link

02.10.2020

The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) is an important financial instrument of the EU to support targeted infrastructure investments at European level. On 1 October 2020, the coordination committee of the CEF decided to allocate €719.7m for investment in electricity transmission infrastructure in Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. The granting follows an application for funding submitted at the end of May this year by the national transmission system operators (TSOs) of the three Baltic States and by PSE, the Polish TSCNET shareholder.

Harmony Link, which is to be the second interconnector between Poland and Lithuania, particularly benefits: €493m will be directly allocated to the project. Further funding is intended for the upgrading of infrastructure required for the integration of Harmony Link and for the installation of synchronous compensators in the Baltic States.

The first Polish-Lithuanian interconnector is LitPol link, an overhead line connecting the PSE substation in Elk and the Lithuanian Alytus substation, which has been in operation since 2016. Harmony Link is implemented in a different technical way, as a high voltage direct current (HVDC) submarine cable bypassing the Curonian Lagoon and the Gdańsk Bay. The new Polish-Lithuanian interconnector is crucial to enable the synchronisation of the Baltic electricity area with the Continental European (CE) area – an important objective in the framework of the European Energy Union to create a common European electricity market. It will also support regional and supra-regional supply security.

The EU is funding the Polish and Baltic electricity infrastructure with €719.7m through the CEF Energy programme (picture of Gdańsk Bay seen from Gdynia: NAC on Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0)

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> See PSE press release (html)

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TenneT commissions North German grid node

02.10.2020

The town of Wilster is located about 10 kilometres north of the Elbe river in the German federal state of Schleswig-Holstein, which falls within the control area of the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO) Tennet. Schleswig-Holstein is of eminent importance for the generation of wind power. In Wilster, after a four-year construction period, the TSCNET shareholder commissioned the renewed Wilster/West substation on 1 October, a significant grid node for the energy transition in the north and beyond. This is because the so-called Westküstenleitung (West-Coast-Line), the NordLink interconnector, which directly links the electricity markets of Germany and Norway, are converging here – and later also the SuedLink “electricity highway” for the transmission of green electricity to the German consumption centres.

For the two high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission projects NordLink and SuedLink, the capacity of the former Wilster/West substation was no longer sufficient. An extension of the switchgear was necessary to exclude impermissible load flows and guarantee the short-circuit resistance required in future. Thus, a new 380kV switchgear was built on the ground of the former 380kV substation and the new construction now replaces the old substation on the same site. Furthermore, the connection facilities for the converter stations of SuedLink and NordLink had to be provided. And finally, a 110kV switchgear was installed, which enables the dismantling of the 220kV switchgear in the near substation Itzehoe-West.

“This substation is a central hub for electricity transmission from north to south,” explains TenneT’s COO Tim Meyerjürgens. “Here, electricity from renewable sources is fed into the grid and distributed to regions with high consumption. The Wilster area is of outstanding importance for the energy transition. Because in the grid area between Wilster, Brokdorf, Itzehoe, and Brunsbüttel, three new extra-high voltage lines from TenneT converge: the Westküstenleitung, NordLink, and later also SuedLink.”

TenneT has put into operation the new substation Wilster/West (picture: TenneT)

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> See TenneT press release, in German (html)
> Watch video on the construction and commissioning of Wilster/West, in German (YouTube)

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TransnetBW modernises Herbertingen-Hoheneck line

01.10.2020

Like any transmission system operator (TSO), TransnetBW, the TSCNET shareholder from the southwest of Germany, regularly evaluates the condition of its facilities and transmission infrastructure to define necessary modernisation measures. This has revealed the need to renew the 380kV overhead line from Herbertingen in the south of the federal state of Baden-Württemberg to the Hoheneck substation in Ludwigsburg, about 20 kilometres north of the Swabian metropolitan city of Stuttgart. As part of the modernisation, several steel parts of 53 existing pylons will be replaced. The basic mast structure, that is height, width, and foundations, is not affected.

For the work on the line in the voltage range of the mast cantilever arms, disconnection of the corresponding electrical circuits is required. This has no effect on the regional power supply. Work on the roughly 120-kilometre-long transmission line began in the last week of September and is expected to be completed by the end of November 2020.

TransnetBW modernises the 380kV overhead line from Herbertingen to Hoheneck (exemplary picture: TransnetBW)

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> See TransnetBW press release, in German (html)

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A man on a mission – welcome, Chidera!

30.09.2020

“Where there is data smoke, there is also a business fire,” noted Thomas Redman, internationally renowned as the “Data Doc”. We at TSCNET take his words to heart and strive to provide secure data of excellent quality to ensure that our business processes run smoothly and there is no smoke. To achieve this, we rely on a team of knowledgeable and well-trained experts. Now we have been able to expand this team a little: We are pleased to welcome Chidera Abonyi as a new Data Quality working student in the Service Operations business unit. He shares our understanding of the immense importance of high-quality data and adds a new chapter to his inspiring journey through the world of data and energy.

Chidera already holds a M.Sc. in Energy Engineering from the Pan African University Institute of Water and Energy Science (PAUWES) at the University of Tlemcen in Algeria and is currently completing his second postgraduate course in Power Engineering at the Technical University of Munich (TUM). In addition to his academic knowledge of energy-related topics, the 28-year-old Nigerian has already gained valuable practical experience across the globe.

Chidera worked with the Photovoltaic Research Laboratory (PVRL) at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte on solar cell design, completed a research internship at the TUM on short-term electricity forecasting and also supported the German Agency for International Cooperation in the Nigerian Energy Support Programme (NESP). In addition, Chidera, whose main motivation in the energy world stems from his vision of a sustainable future, also has extensive experience in volunteer work throughout Africa.

The joy of supporting others
Most recently, Chidera worked with the Tanzania Development Trust, where he worked with volunteers in the East African country to create better maps for the country’s citizens. Since July 2018, he has also been volunteering for the Switch Energy Alliance (SEA) as an assistant to the African Outreach Campaign. Prior to that, he worked as a research assistant for Power for All in his home country Nigeria, where he collected and analysed data, focusing on Nigeria’s renewable energy sector. “Working as a volunteer gives me the opportunity to connect with various communities and to turn my passions into real and immediate positive impact at grassroots level,” he explains.

At TSCNET, Chidera’s work focuses on one platform project in the field of visualisation and another on the optimisation of grid data and its analysis. In his spare time, he enjoys going on long-distance runs in nature, listening to great music and exploring the world. Munich offers great opportunities in this respect. We are delighted to have a knowledgeable and committed young colleague with a great deal of heart, and we look forward to having him at our side in our work for a more sustainable future.

TSCNET Services welcomes Chidera Abonyi, the new working student in our BU Service Operations 

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> Open Chidera’s LinkedIn profile (html)

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Amprion commissions new Statcom facility

30.09.2020

The rising share of volatile renewable electricity generation and the increasing transmission distance from the places of generation to the centres of consumption require power grids to be adjusted, with immediate voltage regulation being a key element. To balance out voltage fluctuations, which are more and more occurring at the grid nodes, the European transmission system operators (TSOs) employ reactive power compensation systems. German TSCNET shareholder Amprion is no exception and already using a wide range of innovative technologies. On 29 September 2020, the company commissioned one more Statcom (static synchronous compensator) system, in this case on the site of the Kusenhorst substation in Haltern am See in the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia. Almost exactly one year ago, Amprion commissioned an identical system at the Kriftel substation between Frankfurt and Wiesbaden in Hesse.

Amprion has invested a total of €37m in the expansion of the Kusenhorst substation. According to demand, the Statcom system can feed in reactive power in the range of about 300Mvar, thus raising or lowering the voltage in the grid to contribute to grid stability. The new Statcom can also be combined with the mechanical switched capacitor with damping network (MSCDN) already on site in Kusenhorst. Together, the two technologies form a so-called hybrid facility for reactive power compensation, making it the most powerful of its kind in the German grid alongside the Kriftel substation.

The Statcom system consists of several building sections, which are up to ten metres high and cover an area of approximately 1,000m². They contain the converter, chokes, and the regulation and protection technology. The transformer and the external cooler of the system are outside the buildings. Amprion operates the Statcom system remote-controlled via its system operation and control centre near Cologne.

Amprion has commissioned a Statcom system for reactive power at its Kusenhorst substation (picture: Amprion)

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> See Amprion press release, in German (html)

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