Fauna-friendly extension of Amprion substations

25.07.2019

TSCNET shareholder Amprion, one of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs), is expanding its Siegburg substation in North Rhine-Westphalia, near the former seat of the West German government in Bonn. The planning is progressing well: By 2023, the existing 220/110kV substation is to be integrated into the 380kV grid. To this end, the current installations will be extended by a 380/220kV transformer and a gas-insulated switchgear at the 380kV voltage level. A new overhead line will connect the station to Amprion’s supra-regional transmission system.

But there is more to be told from Siegburg, as the substation provides a home for seven bee colonies. In May, further TSCNET shareholder TenneT, the Dutch-German TSO, reported on a pilot project on eco-friendly substation maintenance, and now Amprion also informs about new steps in this field: Around 350,000 bees of the Buckfast and the Carniolan breeds live in a specially fenced area and bring the nectar gathered on their flights back to the hives at the station. “We are very happy about our new neighbours,” says Klaus Breitbach, operations manager of the substation. “We hope that our new neighbours will thank us for the good location with one or the other glass of honey”.

News is also coming from the Bischoffsheim substation in the Rhine-Main Area. Here, too, Amprion is working on the grid of the future: To ensure security of supply for the region and the state capitals of Mainz (Rhineland-Palatinate) and Wiesbaden (Hesse), the TSO is expanding and modernising the existing 380kv system with a transformer and switch panels. On 27 July, Amprion expects the delivery of the 350MVA transformer. First, the transformer with a weight of around 350 tonnes is being transported by rail. The last 560 meters on the road will be taken over by a heavy haulage tractor unit with a length of 78 meters and two times twelve axles. The total weight of the transport unit is 574 tonnes.

Bees at Amprion substation

Amprion welcomes bee colonies to the Siegburg substation and is expecting a new transformer at the Bischoffsheim substation (picture: Amprion)

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> See Amprion press release on the Siegburg substation, in German (html)
> See Amprion press release on the Bischofsheim substation, in German (html)

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Regional Coordination Centre for South-East Europe

18.07.2019

The three transmission system operators (TSOs) of the South-East Europe Capacity Calculation Region (CCR) – TSCNET shareholder Transelectrica from Romania, ESO from Bulgaria and IPTO from Greece – have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on establishing a Regional Coordination Centre (RCC). The memorandum emphasises the ambition of the TSOs to strengthen regional cooperation and thus contribute to the safety and efficiency of the European transmission system.

The agreement provides a cooperation framework between the three contracting parties with the common objective of finding a mutually acceptable solution for the implementation of an RCC on the principle of meeting the requirements of the Third European Energy Package and the Clean Energy for all Europeans Package as efficiently, effectively and timely as possible. The MoU sets a time frame for the core decisions. The SEE capacity calculator is to be determined as early as 4 August 2019 and the necessary documents for the founding of the RCC are to be signed by the end of the year.

The three TSOs of the South-East Europe CCR have signed a MoU on establishing an RCC (picture of the “New Europe Bridge” connecting Romania and Bulgaria across the Danube by Erich Westendarp, Pixabay).

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> See ENTSO-E press release (html)

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High growth in renewables in the 50Hertz area

17.07.2019

The generation of power from wind and sun is increasing steadily and strongly in the control area of TSCNET shareholder 50Hertz, the north-eastern German transmission system operator (TSO). 21.6TWh of wind power were generated in the first half of 2019, compared with only 16.6TWh in the corresponding period of the previous year. In the same time, photovoltaic generation amounted to 6TWh, which is an increase of almost 170GWh. This corresponds with the rise in the installed capacity of onshore and offshore wind turbines, which totalled 19.6GW in mid-2019 (mid-2018: 18.9GW) and the installed capacity of photovoltaic systems, which reached 11.1GW (mid-2018: 10.6GW).

Despite this capacity increase and the incrementing feed-in of electricity into the grid, 50Hertz was able to maintain stable costs for congestion management, such as interventions in the operation of conventional power plants and the temporary shutdown of renewable energy facilities. In the first half of 2019, redispatch costs amounted to around €13m and the costs for feed-in management to around €48m.

This increase in renewable generation and installed capacity from renewable facilities shows that northern and eastern Germany make an indispensable contribution to achieving the German government’s target of a 65% share of renewable energies in nationwide electricity consumption by 2030. However, from the TSO perspective of 50Hertz, the necessary grid extension must be pushed ahead in parallel to be able to transmit the green electricity to the consumption centres in the south and to keep congestion management costs under control.

The generation of electricity from renewable sources is increasing in the control area of 50Hertz (picture showing the transformer platform of the Baltic Sea wind farm Arkona: 50Hertz)

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

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András Biczók new CEO of MAVIR

16.07.2019

András Biczók was appointed CEO of TSCNET shareholder MAVIR, the Hungarian transmission system operator (TSO), with effect from 15 July 2019 after the Hungarian Energy and Public Utility Regulatory Authority approved the decision of the company’s supervisory board. He succeeds Kamilla Csomai, who resigned as CEO by mutual agreement at the end of June. Biczók studied in Germany, began his career in the financial sector and has been active in various branches of the international energy industry since 2015. Most recently he was CEO and chairman of the board of directors of the Hungarian company for natural gas storage MMBF Földgáztároló Zártkörűen Működő Részvénytársaság.

The main objective of the new CEO is to continue to guide MAVIR on its way to becoming the leading and most advanced player in the national energy sector. This means that the TSO addresses increasing electricity transport and consumption, decentralised electricity generation from renewable sources and the anticipated developments in energy storage with new approaches. Biczók comments: “While cooperating with the players of the dynamically changing energy market and regulatory authorities in a proactive manner, we have to do our utmost that one of the pillars of the country’s competitiveness, the electricity, shall be constantly and safely available in proper quality and quantity.”

András Biczók is appointed new CEO of MAVIR

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> See MAVIR press release (html)

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TenneT’s “sea harvest” increases

15.07.2019

9.51TWh – this is the considerable total amount of offshore wind power that TSCNET shareholder TenneT, the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO), transmitted from sea to land in the first half of 2019. This means that the first half of 2018 (8.17TWh) will be exceeded by a whopping 16%, while on the German market offshore wind energy accounts for a strong 15% of total wind energy generation. At the same time, the cost efficiency of new offshore grid connection systems has further improved in recent months through the standardisation of TenneT’s offshore grid connection systems and the combined expertise of TenneT as a leading TSO at sea.

With the connections currently planned and under construction, TenneT will increase offshore transmission capacity in the German North Sea to almost 9GW by 2024. However, current efforts in Europe will not be sufficient to achieve the climate targets of the Paris Agreement. TenneT therefore calls for a stronger expansion of offshore wind energy in Europe to create a low carbon energy future. TenneT COO Tim Meyerjürgens refers to international studies and scenarios that indicate that “an accelerated and large-scale roll-out is necessary”.

In this context, Meyerjürgens also points to the North Sea Wind Power Hub (NSWPH) concept, for which a positive feasibility study has just been carried out. The North Sea has great potential for offshore wind power, and the NSWPH consortium’s approach could result in 180GW of offshore wind power by 2045. Meyerjürgens explains: “A future internationally coordinated approach could implement the connection and integration of a roll-out of large-scale offshore wind energy more effectively and at considerably lower costs of up to 30% than with continued individual national planning.”

Offshore wind energy transmission by TenneT rose to 9.51TWh in the first half of 2019 (picture of SylWin Alpha converter platform: Tennet)

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> See TenneT press release with detailed facts and figures (html)

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DA/RE project: first retrievals of redispatch capacities

11.07.2019

The Baden-Württemberg grid security initiative “DA/RE” (“DAta exchange/REdispatch”) addresses the increasing volatility and decentralisation of power generation. The aim is to stabilise the entire electricity system by utilising the flexibility potential of decentralised generation units from lower grid levels. Originally launched in the summer of 2018 by TSCNET shareholder TransnetBW, the German transmission system operator (TSO) from the state of Baden-Württemberg, and the southwest German distribution system operator (DSO) Netze BW, the project consortium was later expanded so that a total of three DSOs and four other partners from the areas of virtual power plants, home storage and energy trading were involved in the first DA/RE pilot phase from April to June 2019.

During this phase, the participants have defined and developed the method of data exchange and coordination. Following this successful implementation process, the first retrievals from pilot plants in the distribution network for redispatch purposes have now been initiated. Capacities were retrieved from battery home storage facilities, several biogas plants, a waste incineration plant and a cogeneration plant. The tests therefore involved both medium-voltage and low-voltage systems and the project partners have demonstrated that it is possible and important to make use of all flexibilities at all voltage levels for grid stabilisation.

“The retrievals from systems in the distribution network constitute a significant milestone for us, as they show that the concept is feasible and we are now able to gain initial experience in terms of practical suitability,” explains DA/RE project manager Florian Gutekunst from TransnetBW. The second stage of the pilot phase has thus begun. Further retrievals are now being carried out and various application cases are being tested. In concrete terms, the issue is how grid operators can trigger the retrieval of redispatch measures in a coordinated manner and how the information chain should be designed in order to guarantee all parties involved at all voltage levels complete transparency about the retrieval and the capacity provided. In the following third step, the retrievals are to be automated and the corresponding data paths implemented.

First retrievals of redispatch capacities have been carried out in the pilot phase of the DA/RE project (picture showing a scene from electricity trading: Next Kraftwerke)

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> See TransnetBW press release, in German (html)

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RSC conference 2019 in Copenhagen

11.07.2019

To speak of a tradition may be somewhat exaggerated in view of the third Regional Security Coordinator (RSC) Conference, but nevertheless the annual meetings on European transmission security coordination are already considered a significant contribution to the overall system security on the continent. TSCNET Services, the Munich-based RSC, had the honour of hosting the first RSC conference called “ElSeC” (Electricity Security Coordination) in 2017. In 2018, the baton was passed on to the Belgian RSC Coreso, which organised “Power Coordination Europe” in Brussels.

This year, the colleagues of Nordic RSC invite you to Copenhagen to the RSC Conference 2019, which has the motto: “Act locally, coordinate regionally, think European”. The event takes place on 8 October at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Copenhagen, which is in the same building that also houses Nordic RSC’s offices, the Copenhagen Towers. “RSC 2019” is co-organised by the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) with the other four European RSCs – Baltic RSC, Coreso, SCC, and TSCNET Services – functioning as co-hosts. Registration for the RSC Conference 2019 is now open!

Since as many interesting and relevant topics as possible should be dealt with, there are parallel sessions in addition to the general panel discussions. The topics address concrete action perspectives for transmission system operators (TSOs) and RSCs as well as broader issues of security coordination in Europe, such as: “The Green Transition: The reason for change and innovation in TSOs”, “Enhanced TSO coordination for Europe”, “Ensuring the right competences in an RSC perspective”, “Critical Grid Situation Communication” or “Efficient markets support operational security”.

Among the speakers are Joachim Vanzetta, Director System Control at the German TSO and TSCNET shareholder Amprion, and Laurent Schmitt, Secretary General of ENTSO-E. Maik Neubauer, one of the two managing directors of TSCNET Services, will talk about “RSC Complexities and Future Challenges”, i.e. the complex challenges faced by RSCs in the ongoing implementation of services, in cooperation between the different RSCs and in adapting and integrating changes from the EU “Clean Energy for all Europeans Package”.

The RSC Conference 2019 on electricity security coordination takes place on 8 October 2019 in Copenhagen (picture: varsbergsrolands/pixabay)

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> Visit RSC Conference 2019 website (html, with access to registration)

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New ploughing technology for cable laying under test

10.07.2019

The 380kV line from Wahle in the German federal state of Lower Saxony to Mecklar in the state of Hesse is one of the underground cable pilot projects laid down in the German Power Grid Expansion Act (Gesetz zum Ausbau von Energieleitungen – EnLAG). For the construction of the line, TSCNET shareholder TenneT, the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO), is testing a new ploughing technology for laying empty conduits, into which the three-phase underground cables will later be inserted.

The so-called multiple ploughing method was presented today in the Lower Saxony village of Wartjenstedt (near Hildesheim) to representatives from politics, authorities, associations and the media, as well as farmers and land users. At a test track of around 200 metres, the cable plough specialist company Frank Föckersperger and TenneT demonstrated how the specially developed cable plough can be used for the Wahle-Mecklar project.

Olaf Lies, Minister for the Environment, Energy, Construction and Climate Protection of Lower Saxony, was impressed by the demonstration: “The test in Wartjenstedt shows that when installing underground cables, it is possible to minimise interference with the existing soil structure and reduce construction costs and time by using new laying techniques.” TenneT Managing Director Tim Meyerjürgens complements: “TenneT aims to introduce the multiple ploughing method to the state-of-the-art technology to accelerate the grid extension. After about three years of research, it is a great success to test this important innovation on site for Germany’s longest 380kV underground cable section.”

If the test phase for the plough, which is to last until mid-October 2019, is successful, TenneT intends to use the new method on suitable sections of the Wahle-Mecklar project on a trial basis in spring 2020. Depending on the test results and the respective local conditions, TenneT expects a significantly reduced construction time for underground cable lines when using the multiple plough. Since experience with cable ploughing technology has so far only been available for lower voltage levels, TenneT is once again doing pioneering work to design the energy transition grid and establish new technologies.

TenneT is conducting field tests on new ploughing technology for laying underground cables (picture: TenneT)

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> See TenneT press release, in German (html)

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Wind power hub promotes climate goals

10.07.2019

It’s only been a good three years since TSCNET shareholder TenneT, the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO), first presented the concept of a North Sea Wind Power Hub (NSWPH) to the public. From then on, the vision has taken concrete shape and the hub consortium has been consistently expanded, now including further TSCNET shareholder Energinet from Denmark, the port of Rotterdam and the Dutch natural gas company Gasunie, as power-to-gas applications are an important component of the concept.

In future years, when large wind regions in the North Sea are defined for development, it will be possible to implement several hubs to support the energy transmission infrastructure. These NSWPHs will then combine generation, storage and transmission of wind energy with a multinational interconnection of North Sea riparian states and thus promote the large-scale implementation and integration of offshore wind energy. The NSWPH partners have now presented the results of the project assessment phase. In recent months, they not only analysed options for the construction of wind farms in the North Sea, but also conducted a large number of studies, examined various scenarios and held intensive discussions with policy makers, leading offshore developers and non-governmental organisations.

The studies and investigations have confirmed the technical and economic feasibility of the hub concept. Furthermore, they have shown that large offshore wind capacities must be developed in the North Sea in order to achieve the goals of the Paris Climate Convention in due time. The targeted capacities range from 70 to 150GW by 2040 and up to 180GW by 2045. Depending on the scope of development, the NSWPH could lay the foundation to supply hundreds of millions of Europeans with green electricity. To take the concept forward, the Danish, Dutch and German governments as well as the European Commission are invited by the NSWPH consortium to consider setting up a consultation.

Studies confirm the climate benefits of the North Sea Wind Power Hub concept (picture: TenneT)

Linkup
> See TenneT press release (html)
> Visit North Sea Wind Power Hub website (html)

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Michela and Gopi, the newcomers in service operations

09.07.2019

TSCNET Services is on course for continued growth in order to meet the increasing demands with more and more services for our customers. In a booming region like Munich, this is not so easy. Our Business Unit Service Operations is pleased to announce two additional Junior Operations Managers: Michela Monaco and Gopi Jayasurian.

Michela Monaco comes from a small town near Pisa. Her father is Italian, but her mother comes from the Philippines. And actually her surname leaves her no choice but to move to Bavaria’s capital: Munich in Italian is Monaco, Monaco di Baviera to be exact. In addition, Munich has its reputation as “Italy’s most northern city”. The 26-year-old studied at Università di Pisa, first energy engineering for her bachelor’s degree, then electrical engineering for her master’s degree. Her thesis was also done at ABB’s Corporate Research Center in Ladenburg, Baden-Württemberg. So she already knows Germany.

At TSCNET, Michela wants to gain valuable experience and develop within the company with its open but challenging environment. To balance this out, she focuses on cooking, reading, hiking and above all her own vegetable garden with great home-grown tomatoes.

Gopi Krishnan Jayasurian is a 25-year-old electrical engineer from Kerala in the far south of India. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering and Electronics from Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University in Hyderabad, India, 2015 and received a Master’s of Science degree in Sustainable Energy from the Technical University of Denmark in Copenhagen by early 2019. During this time, he also spent several months as a visiting scholar at the University of Illinois in the USA studying large-scale optimisation techniques in power systems. Gopi has also gained some professional experience: as a support engineer at Amazon in India and as an intern in market modelling and system development and later as a market modelling advisor at ENTSO-E in Brussels, Belgium. As Junior Operations Manager, he has a lot in mind: “As the sky is the limit, I want TSCNET to grow overall, and I want to be an impetus for that growth. I want to help to improve the quality of our offerings, and make our operational security coordination processes best known worldwide.”

In his spare time Gopi likes to play acoustic guitar, especially Bollywood songs. What he likes about Munich is its mixture of pulsating metropolis and “authentic Indian retreats” (those were his words!) – and that doesn’t miss the beer gardens!

TSCNET Services has two additional Junior Operations Managers: Michela Monaco and Gopi Jayasurian

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