Martin Durčák elected as new ČEPS Chairman

21.01.2019

Ing. Martin Durčák has been a member of the Board of Directors at TSCNET shareholder ČEPS, the Czech transmission system operator (TSO), since November 2018, where he was responsible for Economics as well as Information and Communications Technology. Last week, Mr Durčák was elected Chairman of the Board. “I really appreciate the Board of Directors’ trust and the opportunity to preside over a company with such strategic importance to the flawless functioning of the whole country’s economy,” comments Mr Durčák on his election.

Martin Durčák started his career in controlling and project management at Aral in Austria, Germany, Poland, and the Czech Republic. As CEO of Aral he joined the UNIPETROL holding company after the takeover of Aral. Durčák belonged to the Board of Directors of the parent company of the UNIPETROL Group before joining ČEPS. He was also executive manager of UNIPETROL RPA.

Prague-based ČEPS has elected Martin Durčák as new Chairman of the Board of Directors

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> See ČEPS press release (html)

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EU supports research on power system interfaces

17.01.2019

After implementing the network codes and the “Clean Energy for All Europeans” package, the European Commission is now funding INTERRFACE under the Horizon 2020 programme. The aim of this research project is to create new connections/interfaces in the power system. INTERRFACE has now been launched and will run for three years with a budget of €21m. It involves 42 partners from grid and market operators, aggregators, service and technology providers as well as universities.

The consortium includes the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSOE) and the two TSCNET shareholders ELES, the Slovenian transmission system operator (TSO), and Transelectrica, the TSO from Romania. Together with their partners, they plan to develop an Interoperable pan-European Grid Services Architecture to serve as an interface between customers and power system operators – TSOs and distribution system operators (DSOs) – to allow seamless, transparent and non-discriminatory exchange of energy services.

INTERRFACE is intended to demonstrate the added value of data exchange between all players involved in the value chain of the electricity system, and this from local, regional to EU level. This would be a first in the energy sector. INTERRFACE should also enable TSOs, DSOs and customers to fully exploit and coordinate the potential of decentralised energy resources.

The European Commission is funding a research project on creating a Interoperable pan-European Grid Services Architecture

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> See ENTSO-E press release (html)

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APG and ENTSO-E comment on frequency drop

16.01.2019

Last Thursday, 10 January 2019, at around 9 p.m., a deviation from the 50Hz mid-frequency to 49.8Hz was registered in the Continental European (CE) Power System which comprises the synchronised transmission grids of 25 countries. As foreseen in such cases, immediate collective actions have been taken by the transmission system operators (TSOs) of the CE Regional Group and the underfrequency was rectified within a few seconds. The incident was clearly sufficient to alert the TSOs, but at no time did it jeopardise the European security of supply.

Nevertheless, there have been reports in some Austrian media about a potential interruption of the European electricity supply, comparable to the event of November 2006, when ten million households in France were disconnected from the grid as a precautionary measure. These press reports have provoked reactions from TSCNET shareholder APG, the Austrian TSO, and the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E), who both stated that the comprehensive technical analysis is still pending but that there was no risk of a major power failure at any time.

APG has already made initial statements on the incident. According to APG, the cause was most likely a combination of several circumstances, but the decisive factor was probably a data error at another TSO at a transfer point on the Austro-German border. This occurrence could not be compared with that of 2006, when line overload was the reason.

APG and ENTSO-E respond to press reports on the frequency drop in the CE power system and confirm permanent security of supply

Linkup
> See APG press release, in German (html)
> See ENTSO-E press release (html)

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Record wind power feed-in for 50Hertz

16.01.2019

While last weekend’s windstorm “Florenz” with its masses of snow posed great challenges to the European Alpine countries – and thus also to the transmission system operators (TSOs) based there – the north German coasts and low mountain ranges were hit by stormy, sometimes heavy gusts. 50Hertz, the north-eastern German TSO, whose control area includes such geographical ranges, reports a welcome side effect of “Florenz”: a new record in wind energy feed-in.

On 13 January at 8.45 p.m., the TSO’s grid management for the first time recorded more than 16,000MW in the 50Hertz grid. Thus, the very current record level of New Year’s Day 2019 was even surpassed. At that moment on 13 January, the grid area of 50Hertz could theoretically have been completely supplied with wind energy and there still would have been additional export capacities.

“The value has shown us once again that we as a company together with our neighbouring networks and partners are well prepared for such extreme situations. The grid can withstand such loads,” says Andreas John, Head of System Management at 50Hertz. His team at the Transmission Control Centre in Neuenhagen near the German capital of Berlin had the situation well under control any time.

The windstorm “Florence” led to a new record in the feed-in of wind energy in the control area of 50Hertz (picture of the 50Hertz Transmission Control Centre: Jan Pauls / 50Hertz)

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

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Successful tests for the HeatFlex project

15.01.2019

Volatile and decentralised energy generation is an essential characteristic of the energy future. What is at first an evident risk to grid stability, could also prove to be an opportunity for smart and flexible grid management, since small and decentralised consumption devices, if actively involved, could even help to stabilise the grid. In order to explore this potential, TSCNET shareholder TenneT, the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO), and the southern German distribution system operator (DSO) Bayernwerk Netz GmbH have launched HeatFlex last summer, a research project to increase the flexibility and stability of the entire transmission system.

TenneT and Bayernwerk jointly investigate how decentralised devices can be involved most effectively. The power users that HeatFlex is concerned with are, for example, electric storage heaters, heat pumps, water heaters and potentially also electric vehicles in the Bayernwerk area. They can be controlled by the DSO using ripple control. If a bottleneck in the transmission grid is to be expected, for instance due to a lot of wind power, decentralised consumption devices are used for grid control: At TenneT’s request, they will be triggered by Bayernwerk and then cease consuming too much electricity but instead supply the grid with the necessary electricity for stabilisation.

There are over 170,000 decentralised controllable devices with a total capacity of around 200MW in the Bayernwerk distribution area. A first test in summer already proved the technical feasibility of HeatFlex in cases of real bottleneck situations. It turned out that the communication between the control centres of both operators worked quickly and efficiently. “With this project, we are testing solutions for tomorrow already today. HeatFlex is one of the pilot projects with which we are investigating which decentralised flexibilities we can use in the future to stabilise the grid. These include, for example, projects with power-to-gas, with bidirectionally chargeable electric vehicles or with home storage and blockchain technology,” explains TenneT Managing Director Wilfried Breuer.

HeatFlex, the joint research project of TenneT and Bayernwerk on flexible grid control, is making progress (picture: Bayernwerk AG)

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

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Approval for construction of SuedLink converter

15.01.2019

The substation in Leingarten, operated by TSCNET shareholder TransnetBW, one of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs), is the southwest German ending point and the location for the converter of the SuedLink extra-high voltage line. This supra-regional project is carried out jointly by TransnetBW and further TSCNET shareholder TenneT, the Dutch-German TSO. SuedLink will be of great benefit to Germany’s future energy system as it will transmit sustainable electricity from the north of the country to Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg in the industrially highly developed south.

On 15 January 2019, TransnetBW received the first partial construction permit from the competent district administration for the construction of the SuedLink converter at Leingarten. The first preparatory construction measures can now begin as planned in 2020, and the commissioning of the entire DC underground cable connection with a length of approximately 700km remains scheduled for 2025.

The new equipment in Leingarten will convert the DC into AC so that it can be fed into the transport network. Dr. Werner Götz, CEO at TransnetBW, comments: “With the district administration’s approval for the converter on the site of our substation, we were able to find the best solution for the region and the local community. I am very pleased that we are the first TSO in Germany to receive approval for such a DC converter.”

TransnetBW has received approval to build the converter for the SuedLink extra-high voltage line in Leingarten (photomontage of the future substation: TransnetBW)

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

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Increase in North Sea capacities

11.01.2019

In terms of the “wind harvest” in the German control area of TSCNET shareholder TenneT, 2018 has been yet another record-breaking year. The result in 2018 exceeded the previous year’s figure by 4.9 percent. The wind energy transmitted from the North Sea by the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO) amounted to 16.75TWh in 2018 – a new record. This was made possible by a total transmission capacity of 6,232MW provided by altogether eleven offshore connection systems, which have by now been connected to the onshore grid by TenneT.

That is more than in line with the German political targets. “With this, TenneT has now almost entirely achieved the federal government’s expansion goal of having 6,500MW of offshore wind capacity by 2020,” comments TenneT Managing Director Wilfried Breuer. And what’s more: “Already this year, TenneT will exceed this goal since the completion of BorWin3 in the course of 2019 will put a total of 7,132MW of transmission capacity into operation in the North Sea alone.”

In addition to the company’s infrastructural efforts, TenneT pursues numerous innovative technological approaches. A current example in the offshore sector is the planned 66kV technology, which will be used for the future TenneT offshore connections DolWin5 and BorWin5. 66kV technology can reduce investment and operational costs by millions as it supersedes offshore transformer platforms and significantly reduces the amount of cables required to connect individual turbine systems.

TenneT has increased its offshore transmission capacity from the German North Sea (picture: TenneT)

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> See TenneT press release (html)

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TenneT to build compensatory gas power plant

10.01.2019

The successive shutdown of nuclear or emission-intensive large-scale power plants is an integral part of the energy transition in Germany. In order not to compromise the national energy supply security, the German legislator provides for special grid facilities that should not serve the market constantly but be available as a “safety buffer” on short notice and at any time when the power system reliability is at risk. TSCNET shareholder TenneT is facing up to this task of the energy future and plans to commission such a special grid facility in the form of a 300MW gas power plant on the site of the Irsching substation near Ingolstadt in the German state of Bavaria.

The Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO) now has awarded the contract for the construction and operation of the plant to the energy company Uniper. Probably from 1 October 2022, the power plant will be on stand-by to serve as a “safety cushion” by supplying power in emergency cases. The new gas power plant can be immediately activated in order to maintain transmission system safety and the current level of reliability of the electricity supply also in the future.

From the end of June 2018, TenneT, together with the German TSOs Amprion and TransnetBW, has put out to tender a total of 1,200MW of capacity for special grid facilities Europe-wide and non-technology-specific. The tender covers four regions in southern Germany, each with a capacity of 300MW. For one of these regions, in this case southern Bavaria, TenneT has now awarded the first special grid facility contract.

TenneT has awarded a contract for a compensatory gas power plant at the Irsching substation (picture: Uniper SE) 

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> See TenneT press release, in German (html)

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Chairman of the Supervisory Board confirmed

08.01.2019

Dr. Rainer Pflaum, CFO of TransnetBW, one of the four German power transmission system operators (TSOs), has been confirmed as Chairman of the Supervisory Board of TSCNET Services. Dr. Pflaum was elected Chairman for the first time at the beginning of 2016 and now confirmed for the coming three years.

Due to the ongoing implementation phase of security coordination and capacity calculation services for several European regions and new requirements from the Clean Energy Package recently published by the European Commission, TSCNET Services is facing growing challenges and increased needs of close cooperation links to other RSCs in Europe. With the re-election of Dr. Pflaum, the shareholders of TSCNET Services therefore ensure competence and continuity in the Supervisory Board of the company with today 15 TSOs from twelve European countries as shareholders.

Dr. Rainer Pflaum, CFO of TransnetBW, has been confirmed as Chairman of the Supervisory Board (picture: TransnetBW)

Linkup
> Open TSCNET Services press release (pdf, 119kB)
> Open Vita Dr. Rainer Pflaum, corporate website TransnetBW (pdf, 127kB)

Questions?
Christoph Meinersmann, Communications/PR (external consultant)
E-Mail: c.meinersmann@extern-tscnet.eu

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Welcome as a new Office Assistant, Jara Ibañez!

06.01.2019

Office assistant positions can be found in all sectors and have a broad spectrum of skills. They are sometimes referred to as secretaries or administrative assistants, but what they actually do is help make an office work. The tasks are very different, often based on the specialisations they have, how much professional experience they possess and what career aspirations they have. This also goes for Jara Ibañez, who joined TSCNET Services as an Office Assistant within the Corporate Services unit at the end of 2018.

The 30-year-old Spanish has successfully completed a vocational training in administration and finance. She grew up in San Sebastián in the north of the country and lived on the Spanish Mediterranean coast before moving to Munich in autumn 2017. In the course of her life, however, she has already travelled to 17 countries. “They all taught me something lasting and revealed a part of their culture to me,” says Jara. Besides travelling and exploring new countries, sport is her most important leisure activity. “Sport is the best way for me to get away from the daily routines,” she explains.

For a total of five years, Jara worked for a manufacturer of dance- and sportswear in administration and customer service. Then she felt a need for change and professional growth, exploring a new culture and challenging herself. At TSCNET, she mainly supports in administrative and financial work. She is particularly attracted by the interesting industry with its advanced technologies and the company with its team spirit and great potential for personal and professional development. “I felt the warm and dynamic environment right away during my interview,” says Jara, “and that proved to be true during the first few weeks here.”

Jara Ibañez has joined TSCNET Services as an Office Assistant within the Corporate Services unit

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