BorWin3 operation handed over to TenneT

14.02.2020

The offshore grid connection BorWin3 in the German Bight near the island of Borkum has been operational since August 2019. The twelfth offshore grid connection project of TSCNET shareholder TenneT, the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO), extends TenneT’s transmission capacity for offshore wind farms in the German North Sea by a further 900MW, so that the total capacity already amounts to 7.132GW – and since the German government’s expansion targets for wind energy in the North Sea by 2020 are only 6.5GW, the TSO has clearly exceeded them.

After several weeks of trial operation, BorWin3 has now been handed over to TenneT by the general contractors. The consortium of Siemens and Petrofac was responsible for the construction, transport, installation and commissioning of the two BorWin3 converters (offshore and onshore). The transfer of operations represents a further major contribution to the energy transition in Germany and Europe.

At the same time, TenneT is pursuing ambitious goals for its Dutch offshore projects. The TSO is planning on a large scale, as the Dutch government has set a target in its “Offshore Wind Roadmap 2030” to reach a cumulative offshore wind capacity of 11.5GW by 2030, so that 40% of the Dutch electricity demand will then come from offshore wind farms. In the IJmuiden Ver wind energy area, off the coast of the region of North Holland, the company intends to implement two 2GW offshore grid connections to complement the eight 0.7GW AC grid connections already planned in the Dutch North Sea. As there is currently no 2GW grid connection, a new platform design and a high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission system that enables increased power transmission are required.

Furthermore, given the long distance to the coast and the size of the IJmuiden Ver wind energy area, a 2GW HVDC solution based on 525kV seems to be the most economically solution. It requires only one cable system per 2GW, which limits the impact on the environment and surroundings. The technology is by no means fundamentally new to TenneT. The TSO can draw on its extensive HVDC experience with offshore grid connections in Germany and with interconnectors. TenneT also uses the 525kV level for NordLink, the new offshore connection between Germany and Norway.

To implement such an innovative DC system, TenneT has initiated the design phase with five HVDC suppliers based on an innovation partnership. These suppliers will develop the advanced 2GW-525kV HVDC solution based on the criteria defined by the company and the technical capabilities of the partners.

The operation of BorWin3 was handed over to TenneT (picture of the offshore converter platform BorWin gamma: TenneT)

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> See TenneT press release on BorWin3, in German (html)
> See TenneT press release on Dutch 2GW plans (html)
> Watch BorWin3 project movie, in German (YouTube)

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Ostwind 1 in regular operation

14.02.2020

In April 2019, the Arkona wind farm in the “Westlich Adlergrund” cluster in the Baltic Sea near the German island of Rügen was commisioned, giving the go-ahead for full operation of the Ostwind 1 grid connection of TSCNET shareholder 50Hertz, the transmission system operator (TSO) from northeast Germany. Ostwind 1 is the first grid connection in the Baltic Sea with 220kV three-phase current technology, which enables a higher transmission capacity.

Now Ostwind 1 has gone into regular operation and the two connected wind farms, besides Arkona also the Viking wind farm, have been successfully connected to the onshore grid on schedule. But 50Hertz considers this success no cause to rest on its laurels, for the expansion of offshore wind energy must continue if the energy transition is to succeed. This is why the TSO has already made good progress with the follow-up project Ostwind 2.

For instance, 50Hertz has long since begun preparations for the construction of three submarine cable systems for the Ostwind 2 project. For the land section, the 12 nautical mile zone of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and an approximately 5km-long section in the exclusive economic zone, the building permits have already been issued. 50Hertz has set up a new website for the Ostwind 2 project, where further information can be found.

Ostwind 1 grid connection of 50Hertz in the Baltic Sea has gone into regular operation (picture of Arkona wind farm: Ein Dahmer / CC BY-SA 4.0)

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> See 50Hertz press release (html)
> Visit Ostwind 2 project website (html)

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Integrated market in Switzerland

13.02.2020

In Continental Europe, the synchronised frequency is of 50 Hz. It is a core task of every transmission system operator (TSO) to keep the balance between power production and consumption and the grid frequency stable. The Swiss TSCNET shareholder Swissgrid, the national TSO, operates a market for ancillary services for this purpose. Power plants and other auxiliary service providers (ASPs) in Switzerland hold primary, secondary and tertiary control reserve capacities on behalf of Swissgrid and, in case of frequency deviations, allocate them against compensation. Primary and secondary control energy is retrieved automatically and tertiary control energy manually.

Swissgrid is constantly striving to further develop the ancillary services market with innovative solutions. These include the bundling of manually retrieved products for frequency control and for international redispatch into a single integrated market. A market platform suitable for this purpose, which enables the retrieval of both, tertiary control energy and energy for international redispatches, was successfully launched by Swissgrid last week. This is possible because the two products have the same characteristics and can be called up with the same lead time of 15 minutes.

The specifications of the platform design allow the market offers to be freely changeable. This means, above all, that there is no longer any competition between the tertiary control energy market and the intraday market. ASPs can now offer the energy not sold in the intraday market on the integrated market. Another new feature is that tenders can be processed using the communication protocol of the Energy Communication Platform (ECP) of the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E), which enables direct communication between the IT systems of the ASPs and the Swissgrid bidding platform. This process automation leads to greater transparency.

Swissgrid has launched a platform for the integration of the tertiary control energy market and the international intraday market (picture of the Mettlen-Lavorgo powerline: Albinfo / CC BY 3.0)

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> See Swissgrid news release (html)

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Redispatch with renewable energy systems in practical test

12.02.2020

In Germany, redispatch measures for the eliminations of bottlenecks within the transmission grid are currently limited to conventional power generation plants. An amendment to the German Energy Industry Act with effect from 1 October 2021 allows renewable-energy facilities to be deployed for redispatch measures. These new regulations will strengthen the role of renewables in the maintenance of electricity system security. The task now is to ensure balance sheet handling for such redispatch measures and to develop a mode for the financial settlement of the interventions.

For this reason, TSCNET shareholder 50Hertz, the transmission system operator (TSO) from north-east Germany, has entered into an agreement with the Norwegian energy company Statkraft, Europe’s largest producer of renewable energy, to jointly test redispatch with renewable energy systems in practice. The key objective of these practical tests is being able to calculate the necessary effort for redispatch measures with renewable energy systems. 50Hertz accesses wind farms marketed by Statkraft in Brandenburg and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania that are directly connected to the TSO’s transmission grid or to a regional distribution grid. 50Hertz and Statkraft want to test demand variants for the wind farms to allow the legal requirements to be implemented efficiently and safely with this new form of redispatch.

Dr Dirk Biermann, Managing Director Markets and Systems Operation at 50Hertz, explains that due to the new legal regulations, TSOs will in future have various options for the demand of redispatch for plants in the distribution grid. Dr Biermann comments on the forthcoming practice tests: “Demand via the distribution system operator is just as possible as direct demand by 50Hertz. Our aim is to identify the most efficient way. We hope that the field test will provide us with important insights in this regard.”

50Hertz and Statkraft have agreed to jointly test redispatch with renewable energy systems in practice

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> See 50Hertz press release (html)

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Windstorm results in damage and record feeds

11.02.2020

From Sunday evening through Tuesday morning, the windstorm Ciara (Sabine in German speaking countries and Elsa in Scandinavia) brought severe damaging winds along the squall line across Benelux, France, and Germany and also seriously affected large parts of Central Europe such as the Alpine countries of Austria and Switzerland as well as Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. In Switzerland, Sabine caused several damages to the extra-high voltage grid on Monday, 10 February.

A total of six transmission lines were affected by the storm. Fortunately, TSCNET shareholder Swissgrid, the Swiss transmission system operator (TSO), can report that security of supply in Switzerland has never been at risk and that no people were injured as a result of the damage to the Swissgrid transmission system. Following the tear of a conductor cable of the 220kV line Göschenen-Plattischachen, canton of Uri, the substations Plattischachen and Göschenen had to be temporarily disconnected from the extra-high voltage grid. In western Switzerland, the 220kV line across the Great St. Bernard, canton of Valais, towards the border with Italy was interrupted. The line is in rough terrain and as soon as weather conditions and the security conditions permit, it will be checked by helicopter and examined for possible damage. In total, four of the damaged lines have meanwhile been repaired.

Although there may not have been comparable damage elsewhere and impairments occurred primarily at distribution system level, the storm was generally a major challenge for the affected TSOs, since it gave a powerful boost to electricity generation from wind power. However, the power input was not consistent and wind turbines were shut down when gusts were too strong. At its peak, around 43.7GW of wind power was fed into the grid in Germany, as the Fraunhofer ISE energy charts show, exceeding the previous record of around 43.4GW. According to calculations by the Agora Energiewende think tank, more than three quarters of the electricity consumed in Germany between Sunday noon and Monday noon came from renewable energies.

The International Economic Forum for Renewable Energies (Internationales Wirtschaftsforum Regenerative Energien – IWR) registered a Europe-wide record feed on Sunday evening, when more than 105GW of energy output from wind were recorded in the European power grid. This highest European measurement in 2020 was even surpassed on Monday morning with the all-time record of 109GW.

From Sunday to Tuesday morning, a powerful winter storm caused several damages in the grid of Swissgrid and led to record feed-in of wind energy in Europe

Linkup
> See Swissgrid media release, in German (html)
> Visit Energy Charts Website (html)
> Visit IWR Wind Metering Portal, in German (html)

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Tennet conducts market survey on grid boosters

07.02.2020

Power generation in Germany is changing rapidly in the course of the energy transition and a 65% share of renewable energies is expected in 2030. To meet the challenge of integrating these quantities of renewables, it is necessary for the four German transmission system operators (TSOs) to supplement the mandatory grid expansion with technical innovations. The higher utilisation of the existing transmission system plays a particularly important role in this respect, because if the generated electricity exceeds line capacities, the TSOs have to carry out costly redispatch measures.

TSCNET shareholder TenneT, the Dutch-German TSO, plans to implement grid boosters, an innovation also considered in the German “Network Development Plan 2030”. The general idea of grid boosters involves fast power sources in the form of large batteries. TenneT’s grid booster concept provides for a higher utilisation of the grid during smooth operation. If a transmission line within the monitoring range of the grid boosters exceeds a predefined limit value, the load of the respective circuit is restored to permanently permissible values within a short time by reactive use of the grid boosters.

TenneT is now conducting a market survey on the grid boosters. The purpose of this enquiry is to prepare for the award of contracts and to inform the market players. All interested parties are invited to participate in this process and to submit a written statement on the intended approach by 31 March 2020 via a platform set up by the TSO. The results of the process should help TenneT to carry out a competitive, transparent and non-discriminatory award procedure.

TenneT invites market players to participate in a market survey on grid boosters

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> See TenneT press release, in German (html)
> Visit market survey platform, in German (html)

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Austro-German cooperation on control reserve

05.02.2020

The Austrian transmission system operator (TSO) APG and the four German TSOs 50Hertz, Amprion, TenneT, and TransnetBW are intensifying their cooperation in terms of balancing energy. Since December 2019, the five TSCNET shareholders have been exchanging minutes reserve, i.e. the provision of short-term power reserves to balance fluctuations in generation and consumption that affect frequency. Minutes reserve comes into play after primary control and secondary reserve, the two short-term effective balancing energies. Austria and Germany are thus the first countries in Europe to cooperate on all types of control reserve and make a significant contribution to secure electricity supply in Europe.

The cooperation with the project name “GAMMA” (German-Austrian Manual Merit Order Activation) is trendsetting, as it is the first collaboration in the field of minutes reserve to fulfil the objectives of the EU guideline for electricity balancing on a regional scale. Germany and Austria are testing a regional internal market for the joint utilisation of minutes reserve and will contribute their new experience with the integration of control energy markets to the European “MARI” (Manually Activated Reserves Initiative) project.

Beyond the requirements of the guideline, the Austro-German cooperation will be expanded in February 2020 to include the joint procurement of secondary reserves. It is intended that in an initial phase up to 80MW, later up to 280MW, can be procured across borders. The cost-benefit analysis for the allocation of cross-border transport capacities was jointly developed by the cooperating TSOs. It compares the market value of cross-border transmission capacity for the day-ahead market with that of the secondary reserve, thereby optimising procurement and determining the amount of cross-border transmission capacity allocated to the secondary reserve. This cooperation also represents a lighthouse project in Europe and anticipates the goals of the EU Clean Energy for All Europeans Package.

The Austrian TSO APG and the four German TSOs 50Hertz, Amprion, TenneT, and TransnetBW exchange minutes reserve in a regional internal market

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

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Grid stability with three quarters renewables

04.02.2020

Keeping the mid-frequency of the grid stable at 50Hz is one of the core tasks of the transmission system operators (TSOs). In cooperation with the Regional Security Coordinators (RSCs), they operate the grid securely and keep it free of congestion. These tasks are becoming increasingly demanding due to the rising share of volatile renewable energies in the grid. Among the renewables, wind energy in quantitative terms plays the decisive role in Germany, and last weekend it was particularly windy – from the German coasts to the Alps – which led to a winter feed-in record for renewables: According to figures based on TSO data and provided by the renowned Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (Fraunhofer ISE), on 1 February 2020 renewable energies accounted for 74.8% of net public electricity generation in Germany. Together, the four German TSOs 50Hertz, Amprion, TenneT, and TransnetBW and TSCNET Services mastered the situation very well: The grid was stable at all times.

Fraunhofer ISE continuously publishes German generation and other energy data on the Institute’s Energy Charts website. Theoretically, renewable energies can by now only fully cover power generation in Germany on spring holidays such as Easter or at spring weekends, when power consumption is low and photovoltaics make a larger contribution to generation. The fact that on a winter’s day at the beginning of February renewable energies can already cover almost three-quarters of electricity generation is a good sign that the energy transition in Germany is on track – and the German TSOs and TSCNET Services play an important role in this.

Despite record wind energy feed-in in Germany, there were no problems with grid stability (picture: Karsten Würth)

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> Visit Fraunhofer ISE Energy Charts Website, in German (html)

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Onshore converter for the Combined Grid Solution

31.01.2020

The Danish-German Combined Grid Solution (CGS) in the Baltic Sea is the world’s first offshore interconnector to use national grid connections of offshore wind farms to link the transmission systems of two countries. For this purpose, submarine cables were laid between the offshore transformer stations of the German wind farm Baltic 2 and the Kriegers Flak wind farm in the Danish part of the Baltic Sea. The CGS is a joint project of TSCNET shareholder 50Hertz, one of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs), and TSCNET customer Energinet, the TSO from Denmark.

The Bentwisch substation near the Baltic port city of Rostock houses the German onshore converters for the CGS. Here 50Hertz has installed a double converter system including a back-to-back converter. This is essential for balancing the asynchronous transmission systems of Germany and Eastern Denmark: The AC from the Nordic synchronous area is converted into DC and directly back into AC, now adapted to the European synchronous area.

50Hertz has now successively energised and commissioned all converter components in Bentwisch. The new equipment and further extensions of the substation had to be individually synchronised with the control technology in a series of individual testing and commissioning steps. The operational readiness of the double converter system in Bentwisch marks another important milestone on the way to the commissioning of the entire CGS.

The German onshore converter for the Danish-German offshore interconnector Combined Grid Solution has been commissioned by 50Hertz (picture: Jan Pauls / 50Hertz)

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> See 50Hertz project news (html)

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RSC future perspectives: integrate, cooperate, and digitise

31.01.2020

The annual conference “Future Power Grids” (“Zukünftige Stromnetze”) brings together key players from the German energy sector with a focus on power grids to facilitate a prolific exchange between politics, research and industry. This was once again the case this year when, under the auspices of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, energy experts met in the German capital of Berlin on 29 and 30 January. “Future Power Grids 2020” was technically chaired by Christian Schorn, Head of Asset Management and Operations at TSCNET shareholder TransnetBW, the transmission system operator (TSO) from the southwest of Germany.

Among the representatives of research institutions, ministries, authorities, NGOs and energy companies were Thomas Dederichs, head of energy policy at TSCNET shareholder and German TSO Amprion, and Maik Neubauer, one of the two managing directors of the Munich-based regional security coordinator (RSC) TSCNET Services. Mr. Dederichs spoke about the role of transmission grids in the further development of market design, while Mr. Neubauer, under the heading “The European Perspective – Integration of Renewables and Grid Security”, gave an overview of the history, services, tasks and challenges of European RSCs in general and TSCNET services in particular.

New Challenges for transmission infrastructures
Neubauer depicted the highly meshed European power transmission grid as one of the most complex critical infrastructures in the world and the function of the RSCs as an early warning system for the European TSOs to identify potential risks in the system. RSCs assess these risks continuously and in a coordinated manner and counteract potential congestions and power failures. The establishment of the RSCs was a reaction of the European Commission (EC) to a Europe-wide power outage in 2006 with under- and over-frequencies, which affected around 15 million people across Europe.

The increase in volatile renewable energies in the system further intensifies the need for the work of the RSCs. However, the tasks of the RSCs based on the third and fourth EC Clean Energy Package – e.g. security and risk analysis, capacity calculation, short term adequacy forecasts and longer-term outage planning coordination – depend on intensive cooperation between the European RSCs. The continuous collaboration of almost all European TSOs is essential, and the interests of the energy market and system security needs to be continuously balanced. In the long term, only the digitisation will be able to manage the increasing complexity of the grid. Neubauer points out the growing integration of OT (Operations technology) and IT (Information technology) layers and explicitly referred to the importance of artificial intelligence for congestions analysis and future network control and security.

Maik Neubauer presented RSC insights and future perspectives at the “Future Power Grids 2020” conference in Berlin (picture: Stefan Widua)

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> Visit conference website (html)

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