Borssele Alpha ready to operate

05.09.2019

Just one month ago, TSCNET shareholder TenneT fully implemented BorWin3 in the German Bight, the twelfth offshore grid connection project of the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO). Now there is once again good news for the energy transition, this time from the Dutch North Sea: Borssele Alpha, TenneT’s first and largest connection system for wind farms in Dutch territorial waters, is ready for operation – right on schedule and within budget. From 2020 on, Borssele Alpha will supply the green electricity from the offshore wind farms Borssele I and II ashore.

The two Borssele wind farms will have a capacity of around 700MW. The Borssele Alpha grid connection will transmit the electricity to the substation near the town of Borssele in the Dutch province of Zeeland, where TenneT has built a new transformer station next to the existing station. The Borssele grid connection is TenneT’s first Dutch major project under the National Energy Agreement for offshore wind farms and fully complies with the conditions set out in the Dutch government’s Offshore Wind Energy Development Framework.

According to the Energy Agreement, TenneT will have installed 3,500MW of grid connections for offshore wind farms by the end of 2023. The next project is Borssele Beta, followed by Hollandse Kust (zuid) Alpha and Beta and Hollandse Kust (noord). TenneT’s standardised procedure for offshore connections will make it possible to complete these projects more efficiently, quickly and economically. In line with the Dutch Follow-up Roadmap for Offshore Wind Energy, a further 6,100MW of offshore wind energy will be realised between 2024 and 2030.

The Borssele Alpha offshore grid connection of TenneT is operational (picture: Screenshot taken from the Borssele video)

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ENTSO-E reports on implementation of market network codes

04.09.2019

The EU network codes are a concise set of rules to promote the harmonisation of national electricity markets and regulations on the way to the European Energy Union. A fully functioning and interconnected internal energy market will strengthen Europe’s competitiveness, contribute to the integration of more renewable energies and ensure security of supply.

The network codes are divided into three families: connection, operation and market. The guidelines for Capacity Allocation and Congestion Management (CACM) and for Forward Capacity Allocation (FCA) are an integral part of the market code family. The progress made by the European transmission system operators (TSOs) in implementing these regulations is documented in two reports which have now been published by the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E).

The “ENTSO-E Market Report 2019” outlines the progress in day-ahead and intraday coupling as well as in FCA, and the “ENTSO-E Report on Capacity Calculation and Allocation 2019” covers the capacity calculation in the ten capacity calculation regions (CCRs). The latter report also assesses capacity calculation and allocation based on statistical and quality indicators.

ENTSO-E has released two reports on the TSO implementation of market network codes (picture: ENTSO-E)

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> See ENTSO-E press release (html)
> Open Market Report (pdf, 2.85MB)
> Open Report on Capacity Calculation and Allocation (pdf, 2.97MB)

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Swissgrid adjusts export capacities to Germany

03.09.2019

All participants in the integrated European electricity market have agreed on common definitions of the transmission capacity for international electricity exchanges, including the Net Transfer Capacity (NTC). The NTC is an important basis to anticipate and plan cross-border transactions. Thus, the establishment of NTCs is one of the essential tasks of the transmission system operators (TSOs) to enable market participants to carry out energy trading without jeopardising grid stability. TSCNET shareholder Swissgrid, the Swiss TSO, along with the neighbouring TSOs, determines the NTC values on all four Swiss borders on an annual, monthly and daily basis.

In the summer of 2019, Swissgrid had to reduce the NTC on the national northern border to Germany to ensure reliable grid operation. Originally, a static NTC value of 4,000 MW for exports from Switzerland to Germany had been defined with the neighbouring German TSOs. However, the load flows between the two countries have changed in the last two years. Situations in which Germany is dependent on imports, especially from Switzerland, occurred increasingly in the summer months. As a result, the previously typical north-south flow towards Italy reversed to a south-north flow towards Germany.

Other simultaneous factors also affected the Swiss grid load, such as the high level of Swiss hydropower production, the inspection times of the Swiss nuclear power plants and the seasonal decommissioning and construction work on the grid. In combination with the growth in exports to Germany, this led to significantly higher load flows in the Swiss 220kV grid, which were additionally reinforced by increased export opportunities from France to Germany through Flow-Based Market Coupling (FMBC) in the Central Western Europe (CWE) region and transit through Switzerland.

In fact, exports of up to 8,000MW were recorded on several days this summer. For this reason, Swissgrid, together with its neighbouring TSOs, has limited the NTC values for a secure grid operation. Swissgrid continues to cooperate closely with these TSOs to optimise cross-border capacity. The current static value of 4,000MW is expected to be substituted by seasonally adjusted dynamic NTC values. However, due to the implementation of the “Clean Energy for All Europeans Package” (CEP) of the European Commission, it is not yet possible to predict exactly how the NTC values at Switzerland’s northern border will develop.

Swissgrid adjusts the NTC values for electricity flows at the Swiss-German border

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COBRAcable market launch on 7 September

02.09.2019

After three years of construction, including the laying of the submarine cables as well as the construction of two onshore converter stations, and a successful test phase earlier this year, COBRAcable will be available for the electricity market as of the delivery day of 7 September, which is exactly on schedule. The first direct connection between the electricity markets of Denmark and the Netherlands was jointly realised and is operated by the two TSCNET shareholders Energinet, the Danish transmission system operator (TSO), and TenneT, the Dutch-German TSO.

The high-voltage DC cable with a length of about 325km has a capacity of 700MW. The Netherlands can import more sustainable electricity from Denmark through COBRAcable, mainly wind energy. In addition, the cable provides Dutch capacity on a structural basis for the Danish electricity grid, thus ensuring security of supply in Denmark, which of course also works the other way round. Moreover, the cable connection is designed in such a way that an offshore wind farm can be connected at a later date, so that COBRAcable contributes to a sustainable European energy landscape.

The COBRAcable interconnector of Energinet and Tennet is available to the market from 7 September (picture: screenshot taken from TenneT-video “First pile COBRAcable”, YouTube)

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> See TenneT press release (html)

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Amprion commissions state-of-the-art technology

01.09.2019

The Kriftel substation between Frankfurt and Wiesbaden in the German federal state of Hesse controls power distribution for the greater Frankfurt area with its almost six million inhabitants. The station is operated by TSCNET shareholder Amprion, one of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs), which has been expanding and modernising it since 2016 and has invested a total of around €34m. During a ceremony held on 30 August with representatives of state and local politics, the new, state-of-the-art equipment in Kriftel was put into operation.

Amprion’s substation not only secures the power supply in the northwestern Rhine-Main area but will now also play an important role in providing reactive power. The installation of the relevant technology in Kriftel became necessary due to the changes in power generation and feed-in in Germany. The declining reactive power capacities of large power plants, which are now being successively taken off the grid in the course of the energy transition, must be compensated by the national TSOs to keep the reactive power in balance with the active power and thus keep the grid voltage at the required level.

The hybrid reactive power compensation system installed in Kriftel is the most powerful of its kind in the German grid. It consists of two units: a static synchronous compensator system (Statcom) and a mechanical switched capacitor with damping network (MSCDN). Depending on requirements, they can raise or lower and secure the voltage in the grid. Dr. Klaus Kleinekorte, CTO at Amprion, explained the importance of the new system technology: “By optimising the switching of many electronic modules, the new hybrid system in Kriftel will help to keep the voltage level in the grid stable and thus continue to guarantee a high level of supply security in the region.”

Amprion commissions the modernised Kriftel substation (picture of a Statcom system as installed in Kriftel: Siemens)

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> See Amprion press release, in German (html)

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50Hertz to improve grid utilisation

29.08.2019

To respond to current and future transmission system requirements, operators can either expand the grid or optimise its utilisation – ideally, they do both. TSCNET shareholder 50Hertz, one of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs), is also facing up to the challenges arising from the higher capacity load on the existing grid. The TSO presented its innovative assets and concepts at the System Security Conference (“Systemsicherheitskonferenz”), which is held every two years by 50Hertz.

This year’s conference on 28 August, the 11th edition, attracted almost 150 participants from the energy industry, science, politics and administration to the Berlin headquarters of 50Hertz, where they were welcomed by 50Hertz CEO Dr. Frank Golletz, who also plays the role of the company’s CTO. Golletz explained how the TSO tackles the technical challenges using previously uncommon technologies such as static compensators (STATCOM), series compensations, back-to-back converters or static and rotary phase shifters. “With these assets, our grid becomes a highly dynamic grid in which the power flow is actively controlled,” commented Golletz.

In addition, Golletz argued that, alongside to the indispensable technical innovations, the rules on the energy market should also be continuously further developed. It is important to set the right incentives for all market participants so that the electricity market not only functions from a business point of view, but also keeps an eye on the entire economy.

50Hertz has held its 11th System Security Conference in Berlin, Germany (picture of headquarters: 50Hertz)

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Swissgrid commissions new transformer in Laufenburg

28.08.2019

TSCNET shareholder Swissgrid, the Swiss transmission system operator (TSO), has successfully taken a new transformer into operation in the Laufenburg substation. It is part of the “Strategic Grid 2025” and plays a central role in the Swiss transmission grid. The new transformer connects the 380kV and 220kV grid levels and increases the capacity of the Laufenburg substation from 600 to 800MVA. It ensures the supply of electricity to the Swiss population, even in the event of increased electricity demand in the future.

The transformer consists of four poles, three active poles and one reserve pole. In the event of a fault, the reserve pole can replace the defective pole without time-consuming displacement. What would otherwise take weeks can be carried out in Laufenburg in just a few days. The protective measures correspond to the highest standard. The new transformer replaces the old one after 53 years of operation.

Swissgrid has put a new transformer into operation at the Laufenburg substation (picture taken from the Swissgrid video “Ein Riese geht ans Netz”, YouTube)

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Nordic TSOs present new development plan

26.08.2019

The four Nordic transmission system operators (TSOs), which include the the Danish TSO and TSCNET shareholder Energinet, Fingrid from Finland, Statnett from Norway, and Svenska kraftnät from Sweden, have published the new edition of the biennial Nordic Grid Development Plan. The four TSOs will continue to intensify their cooperation work in the future and shape it even more comprehensively.

It is planned to significantly expand the transmission grid. The main reasons for this are increased volatility due to the massive increase in renewable electricity generation, the decommissioning of fossil fuel facilities, the growth in consumption from increasing electrification and new industries, aging equipment and the need for reinvestment in existing grid assets, and the decommissioning of nuclear power plants in Sweden. The capacity for the import and export of electricity between the Nordic states and continental Europe is also to be substantially increased with several interconnectors. At the same time, several measures are being developed to make electricity markets and grid operations more effective.

The four Nordic TSOs have published the biennial Nordic Grid Development Plan (picture: Fingrid)

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> Open Energinet press release (html)
> Open Nordic Grid Development Plan 2019 (pdf, 17.85MB)

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Start of construction for replacement 380kV line in Lower Saxony

22.08.2019

The competent planning approval authority has granted TSCNET shareholder TenneT, the German-Dutch electricity transmission system operator (TSO), permission to build the 380 kV Emden – Conneforde line. Construction work will now be started immediately. The combined replacement new construction project is regarded as an important element for a successful energy transition – with the decision of the Lower Saxony State Authority for Road Construction and Transport after several years of preparation and intensive citizen dialogue, network expansion in northern Germany continues to pick up speed.

“The new transmission line supports the transport of renewable energy to the high-consumption regions and thus contributes to greater security of supply,” explains TenneT Managing Director Tim Meyerjürgens. The approximately 60-kilometer-long line runs from Emden through four administrative districts and is to run underground on two sections with a total of around five kilometres. Commissioning is planned for 2021. The existing 220kV line between Emden and Conneforde will then be dismantled.

TenneT has received approval for the construction of the 380 kV Emden – Conneforde line and will begin construction immediately (collage using pictures of TenneT)

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> Open TenneT press release, in German (html)

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TransnetBW order for “bnBm” gas power plant

20.08.2019

TSCNET Services shareholder TransnetBW, one of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs), has awarded Energie Baden-Württemberg AG (EnBW) the contract for the provision of a “special network equipment” (“besonderes netztechnisches Betriebsmittel”, bnBm). EnBW will construct and operate a gas turbine power plant with a capacity of 300MW at Marbach. The city is the birthplace of the poet Friedrich Schiller and is located about 20 kilometres north of Stuttgart on the Neckar River.

The special network equipment will not be available to the market, but will be used from 1 October 2022 as a “safety buffer” exclusively at the request of TransnetBW to ensure safety and reliability in the transmission grid. It thus serves as a further reserve for the safety and reliability of the electricity supply system.

“Behind us lies a demanding tendering procedure, because we had to procure a completely new product,” says Dr. Rainer Pflaum, Managing Director of TransnetBW. It was about access to a capacity that “helps to stabilise the power grid flexibly and reliably”. The new plant would be an important component for supply security in the region.

Together with the TSOs Amprion and TenneT, TransnetBW issued a call for tenders for the special grid technology equipment with a total volume of 1,200MW open to technology and Europe-wide at the end of June 2018. Altogether, the tenders cover four regions in southern Germany, each with a capacity of 300MW.

TransnetBW placed an order for the provision of a gas turbine power plant with a capacity of 300MW (picture: EnBW)

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> Open TransnetBW press release, in German (html)

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