50Hertz yearbook shows top score in renewables

07.06.2019

In its Yearbook 2018, the TSCNET shareholder 50Hertz has compiled on 105 informative and concise pages everything worth knowing about last year’s key figures, activities, infrastructure developments, market assessments, sustainability objectives and much more. For the current report, the transmission system operator (TSO) from North-East Germany has chosen a heading that fits the company’s philosophy: “Setting the pace for a successful energy transition”.

An outstanding yearbook figure is the regenerative share of 56.5% with which 50Hertz has confirmed its pioneering role in the integration of renewable energies in Central Europe. A share of 65% by 2030, the official government target in Germany, is thus already within reach. For its low-carbon future goals, the TSO relies on innovative concepts such as the flexibility platform of the WindNODE project, a digital procurement system designed to reduce the throttling of wind turbines in the event of grid bottlenecks.

Sustainable action and social commitment are entrepreneurial principles for 50Hertz. To provide information on this, the Yearbook also contains a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) report. The CSR Report complies with the strict sustainability reporting standards of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and is supplemented by the launch of the company’s own sustainability website.

50Hertz presents its Yearbook 2018 and launches CSR website (picture showing 50Hertz employees working at the Arkona offshore transformer station: 50Hertz / Jan Pauls)

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> See 50Hertz press release (html)
> Download 50Hertz Yearbook 2018, in German (pdf, 9.08MB)
> Visit the 50Hertz CSR website, in German (html)

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AI for decentralised grid stabilisation

06.06.2019

In a sustainable energy future, small decentralised plants such as combined heat and power (CHP) plants, heat pumps or biogas units must assume the role of stabilising the transmission system, a task which is nowadays mainly performed by large, centralised power plants. To investigate the technical feasibility of decentralised stabilisation options, TSCNET shareholder TenneT, the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO), the distribution system operator (DSO) Bayernwerk and Consolinno Energy GmbH have now jointly carried out a successful test in the southern part of the TenneT control area, the German federal state of Bavaria.

Since there is a vital public interest in such future-oriented technological solutions, the test was funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy in the framework of the research project “C/Sells” which is part of the innovation programme “Smart Energy Showcases. Digital Agenda for the Energy Transition” (“Schaufenster intelligente Energie. Digitale Agenda für die Energiewende” – SINTEG). During the test, at the request of TenneT, the feed-in of a CHP plant controlled by Consolinno and connected to the low and medium-voltage grid of Bayernwerk was increased in order to provide the grid with the electricity required for stabilisation in the event of a bottleneck.

What is new is that each plant autonomously determines its flexibility potential through artificial intelligence (AI). The respective potential of the individual plants can then be further aggregated by means of swarm intelligence. The plants are in normal marketing and operation mode and report free flexibility quantities to the grid operators. “In Bavaria alone there are several thousand CHP plants, heat pumps and biogas facilities, nationwide there are many thousands more. They can increase the flexibility of the energy system and thus contribute to a safe and decentralised energy system in Bavaria and Germany. David can thus become Goliath,” comments Tim Meyerjürgens, COO at TenneT. Also in several other cooperative pilot projects, the TSO is exploring the potential of decentralised flexibility.

TenneT has carried out a successful test on the deployment of small decentralised plants for grid stabilisation

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> See TenneT press release, in German (html)

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ČEPS and SEPS to participate in IPDE

05.06.2019

The International Phasor Data Exchange (IPDE) platform is a multinational project to facilitate and optimise the exchange of operational data within the European interconnected transmission system. More specifically, these data derive from time-synchronous voltage, current phasor and frequency measurements which are collected and used in Wide Area Monitoring Systems (WAMS). IPDE is now making significant progress as the two TSCNET shareholder ČEPS and SEPS, the Czech and Slovak transmission system operators (TSO) respectively, have signed an agreement on participating in the platform.

Martin Durčák, Chair of the Board of Directors of ČEPS, comments that the “participation in the platform is another of our continual steps in the introduction of technological innovations and shift towards a digitally managed and controlled grid”. Miroslav Obert, CEO of SEPS, complements: “The project we are undertaking in collaboration with our Czech partners ensures method simplification and uniformity of phasor data exchanges between individual TSOs.”

ČEPS and SEPS have signed an agreement to participate in the IPDE Data Exchange platform

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> See ČEPS press release (html)
> See SEPS press release, in Slovak (html)

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RGI report on bird data collected by TSOs

04.06.2019

Collisions of birds with power lines and lethal electric shocks pose a threat to certain bird species. European transmission system operators (TSOs) are aware of this and in order to minimise bird mortality from planned or existing infrastructure, TSOs collect significant amounts of data on birds. However, these data are often limited to specific projects or regions and are not collated. To better utilise the potential of this dispersed data for the benefit of birds, the Renewables Grid Initiative (RGI), an association of non-governmental organisations and transmission system operators (TSOs) from all over Europe, has initiated a collective data project.

Together with the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and funded by the LIFE Programme of the European Union, RGI has compiled the report “Better utilisation and transparency of bird data collected by TSOs”, which has now been published. The aim of the joint effort is to provide the actors in the energy sector with the necessary information to reduce the negative impact of power lines on bird populations in the long term.

The data were collected through a questionnaire and a workshop session. The BTO and the RSPB have translated their findings into a comprehensive document which contains specific recommendations for market participants. The project partners intend to build on this work and contribute to the development of a tool to better understand the determinants of bird mortality and the effectiveness of mitigation measures.

RGI has published a report on the use of bird data from TSOs for species protection (picture: Pete Linforth, Pixabay)

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> See RGI topic site (html)
> Open Bird data report (pdf, 1.02MB)

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Amprion presents CWE market report

03.06.2019

Amprion, one of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs), has published its market report for the period 2015 to 2018. In this comprehensive document, the TSCNET shareholder investigates the development of the electricity market in the Central Western Europe (CWE) region using data from Flow-Based Market Coupling (FBMC). The CWE countries (Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands) implemented FBMC in May 2015, which allows TSOs to allocate cross-border capacity and maximise market efficiency without compromising grid stability. This is due to the inclusion of the entire regional network in the coupling of electricity markets.

The control area of Amprion is a central hub for cross-border electricity trading in the CWE region. With its transmission capacities, the TSO can export up to eight GW of electricity at peak times and thus generate more than half of Germany’s total export performance. Transmission via the Amprion grid thus also supports security of supply in neighbouring countries, especially in critical situations such as winter 2016/2017.

Amprion’s analysis shows that the integration of the CWE markets is already well advanced and continues to progress. At the same time, the growing difference between positive and negative price peaks on the electricity exchanges also highlights the challenge of the highly volatile supply of renewable energies. Dr. Hans-Jürgen Brick, Chief Commercial Officer and CFO of Amprion, comments: “The mutual dependency in Europe on system security will continue to rise. We are therefore doing everything physically possible to connect the national markets and networks even better.”

Amprion has published a comprehensive market report for the CWE region

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> See Amprion press release (html)
> Open Amprion market report (pdf, 3,43MB)

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Agreement on synchronous interconnection

01.06.2019

There are five synchronous electricity areas in Europe: Continental Europe (CE), Nordic, Baltic, British and finally the area of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The CE area with the synchronised transmission grids of 26 countries is not only the largest in Europe, but also one of the largest interconnected power systems worldwide. The synchronisation of the Baltic area with CE is of strategic importance for the European Energy Union, one of the political priorities of the European Commission. Currently, the Baltic system is only asynchronously linked to CE between Lithuania and Poland through the “LitPol Link” and at two points to the Nordic region.

An application for a future synchronisation of the Baltic and CE systems was made by the three Baltic transmission system operators (TSOs) Elering, AST and Litgrid with support from TSCNET shareholder PSE, the Polish TSO. The European Network of Transmission System Operators (ENTSO-E) has now announced the first landmark for the project: An agreement on the conditions for a synchronous interconnection became effective on 27 May 2019. Synchronisation will enable the Baltic TSOs to operate their systems in the future at the same frequency as the CE system and in compliance with EU rules.

An agreement on the conditions for synchronous interconnection of the Baltic and CE energy systems has entered into force (picture of Riga by Aleksejs Bergmanis / Pixabay)

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> See ENTSO-E press release (html)

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ENTSO-E report on frequency drop

29.05.2019

On Thursday, 10 January 2019, shortly after 9 p.m., a deviation from the 50Hz mid-frequency was registered in the Continental European (CE) power system, which comprises the synchronised transmission grids of 26 countries. The deviation lasted 9 seconds and, with a drop to 49.808Hz, was the largest absolute frequency deviation since the so-called “European Blackout 2006”, when the frequency reached 49.0Hz.

Thanks to immediate collective action by the transmission system operators (TSOs) of the CE Regional Group the underfrequency was quickly rectified and the European security of supply was not compromised at any moment. In concrete terms, the activation of CE reserves and of interruptible contracts with French industrial customers returned the situation to normal. To identify the root causes of the incident, the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) undertook in-depth investigations and has now released a detailed and transparent technical analysis.

According to this report, the large drop was caused by the superposition of two factors. A significant deterministic frequency deviation (DFD) during the evening peak load encountered another, unpredicted one, registered between 9 and 11 January and caused by a technical error resulting from a frozen measurement on four connecting lines between Austria and Germany. The cumulative effect of the permanent frequency deviation from 9 to 11 January and the significant evening DFD on 10 January led to the frequency loss in the interconnected CE system.

The ENTSO-E technical report indicates that solutions for DFDs in the CE region need to be found. DFDs have been observed for years, but are now becoming more common and are of greater amplitude due to imbalances between generation and demand. Possible solutions to DFDs may require a change in operating and/or market rules. ENTSO-E will make further enquiries in close dialogue with all interested parties.

ENTSO-E has released an in-depth report on the frequency drop in the CE power system from January 2019 (illustration: ENTSO-E)

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> See ENTSO-E press release (html)
> Open ENTSO-E report (pdf, 2.65Mb)

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Strong improvements in NDPs of TSOs

28.05.2019

The individual Network Development Plans (NDPs) of the European transmission system operators (TSOs) set the parameters for the development of the electrical transmission infrastructure on the national scale. At the pan-European level, the biennial Ten-Year Network Development Plans (TYNDPs) – conceived by the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) with the participation of the member TSOs – provide the framework for in-depth identification of continent-wide key investments and infrastructure projects with high potential. It is the task of the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) to assess the coherence of national and EU-wide NDPs.

ACER now has published its detailed opinion on the schemes, scenarios and projects included in the most recent national NDPs. ACER is pleased to find that the coherence with the European TYNDP has substantially improved, e.g. through a wider use of cost-benefit analysis for projects or a more systematic use of a multi-scenario approach. In its 84-page opinion, however, the Agency also calls for some improvements to reduce inconsistencies.

ACER has published its opinion on the coherence of national and EU-wide NDPs

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> See ACER press release (html)
> Open ACER opinion No 13/2019 (pdf, 512.25kb)

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Swissgrid analyses critical situation

27.05.2019

On the critical situation in the Swiss transmission grid on Monday, 20 May 2019, when individual grid elements were considerably overloaded or threatened to be overloaded, TSCNET shareholder Swissgrid, the Swiss transmission grid operator (TSO), has already completed an initial analysis. On that day, with a high Swiss domestic electricity production of around 12 GW, a total of around 4.5 GW was exported, most of it to Germany. Since the load flows typically run in the opposite direction, this atypical situation led to security breaches in the grid.

For reasons unknown, the European grid forecasts did not anticipate that export volumes would increase in the short term from Sunday to Monday. Swissgrid had thus to resolve the grid security breaches in real-time operation in cooperation with colleagues from the European TSOs. This incident shows that the forecasts can deviate considerably from the actual load flows. It also indicates the crucial importance of integrating all transmission grids in Europe, including Switzerland, into the grid modelling, so that any threats to grid security can be identified in advance and coordinated measures can be taken.

However, since Switzerland is excluded from market coupling due to the lack of an electricity agreement with the EU, the deviations between forecasts and effective load flows are likely to increase. An agreement, on the other hand, would include Swissgrid in the models for load flow calculation and capacity allocation of the European partners and provide the TSO with better information on the load flows through Switzerland.

Swissgrid presents first analysis of the grid security breach from 20 May (picture: Swissgrid)

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> See Swissgrid news release, in German (html)

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Pylon repair started at Albula Pass

25.05.2019

The windstorm Adrian (Vaia in the German-speaking area) was one of the most devastating storms of the European storm season 2018-19, mainly affecting the northern Mediterranean and Alpine regions. It not only damaged the Venetian Basilica of San Marco and flooded 75% of Venice, but also destroyed transmission lines at the Albula Pass: In the night to 30 October 2018, four pylons from TSCNET shareholder Swissgrid, the Swiss transmission system operator (TSO) bent or collapsed at the high mountain pass in the Canton of Grisons.

Since then, the two affected 380kV lines (Filisur-Robbia and Pradella-Robbia-Sils) have been out of operation, as Swissgrid has decided for safety reasons not to erect a provisional connection with emergency masts in winter due to the danger of avalanches. Nevertheless, grid security in the transmission grid is ensured at all times and there have been no supply interruptions. While security and supply are guaranteed, however, transit capacity to Italy had to be reduced until the line is restored.

Swissgrid began repairing the 380kV lines in mid-April and is now replacing the four broken pylons whose foundations are currently being reconstructed. New pylons and the conductor ropes will then be installed. If everything goes according to plan, the two lines will go operational again at the end of July.

Swissgrid has commenced repair work on the damaged overhead lines at the Albula Pass (picture: Swissgrid)

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> See Swissgrid media release (html)

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