TSOs support ENTSO-E to prevent frequency deviations

13.11.2018

The Continental European (CE) Power System which comprises the synchronised transmission grids of 25 countries has been subject to occasional deviations from the 50Hz mid-frequency since late 2017. Each time the deviations originated from the Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro (SMM) control block, specifically from the control areas of Kosovo and Serbia – an example of how a regional conflict in an interconnected system can have pan-European impacts. The European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) has consistently undertaken efforts to find a political solution to the problem, and the CE transmission system operators (TSOs) have pledged their support in addition to the technical measures they are implementing anyway to limit the deviations.

Obviously, the problem is not only an issue for ENTSO-E and its members, but also of interest to the general public. It needs to be solved in order to keep the system consistently stable, to avoid further time deviations in electronically controlled watches, to limit financial effects, and ultimately to avoid a potential blackout in Europe. Considering the next winter period, this should happen in the short term. ENTSO-E is therefore in close and continuous exchange with the two responsible TSOs, EMS from Serbia and KOSTT from Kosovo, and has the task of facilitating a solution between the TSOs.

ENTSO-E’s Regional Group CE, which represents all transmission system operators of the 25 countries in the CE synchronous area, voted last week on a proposal to put an end to the deviations. The suggestion aims to provide a basis for a transitional solution and does not impose a principle on either of the two TSOs. ENTSO-E’s proposal was widely supported by the TSOs, although the work-in-progress version of the operational principles could not be approved. ENTSO-E continues its discussions with EMS and KOSTT.

The continental European TSOs support ENTSO-E in preventing further frequency deviations in the synchronised European power system (picture: photo composition using screenshots of Swissgrid’s frequency monitor and a press picture from Swissgrid)

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> See ENTSO-E press release (html)

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At the pulse of energy transition – working students at TSCNET

13.11.2018

With 15 universities such as the famous Ludwig-Maximilians-University or the renowned Technical University, Munich is one of the most important educational metropolises in Europe with more than 120,000 students. On the other hand, we at TSCNET Services have to be creative in order to cover our need for additional manpower as a fast-growing company in the booming Munich area. There it seems to make sense to hire working students: We gain highly motivated, fresh employees, and the students gain important insights into practice and can earn part of the cost of their education.

We currently employ a total of four working students. The working hours are agreed individually with the respective manager, taking into account their lecture schedule, and amount to a maximum of 20 hours per week. The working students are almost completely involved in our day-to-day business and support us in administrative, operational or strategic tasks as well as in ongoing projects.

One of our latest additions is Maria Krutikova, a 27-year-old Russian who is doing her “Master of Consumer Affairs, Innovation and Technology” at the TUM School of Management. She already has a Bachelor and a Master in Sociology from the Novosibirsk State University and also has some experience as an IT project manager in the development of iOS, Android and web applications. Only one weakness cannot be overlooked: Although she was born and raised in Siberia, she is always the first to be cold. But she also has a suitable answer: “Siberian is not the one who is not feeling cold, Siberian is the one who is properly dressed depending on the weather!”

The only 23-year-old Nadine Seitler from Bavaria already has a bachelor’s degree in business psychology with a focus on work and organisational psychology and is currently studying business psychology with a focus on leadership and change management in her second master’s semester. The best prerequisites for working in the human resources department of TSCNET Services. The spectrum ranges from recruiting to onboarding and personal development, e.g. through offers from the TSCNET Academy, to the maintenance of personnel files.

Nadine chose our company because it allows her to get to know a completely new industry and at the same time to expand her existing skills and experience in the HR area. She thus embodies the basic idea of working as a working student: Gaining “real-word” experience toward your future alongside your studies. If you or a student you know wants to follow Nadine’s example: Exciting tasks and projects at TSCNET Services are waiting for further candidates, and the benefits are greater than the amount of the paycheck!

Students at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, one of the city’s two “elite universities” under the German Universities Excellence Initiative (picture: Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München / Presse LMU)

Questions?
TSCNET Services, Human Resources & Development
E-Mail: application@tscnet.eu

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Approval for upgrade of Weinviertel line

12.11.2018

Transparent and comprehensible planning, extensive information for communities, landowners and residents, and the sustainable consideration of environmental interests – the efforts of the Austrian TSCNET shareholder APG have paid off: The national transmission system operator (TSO) has been validly approved to modernise and upgrade the overhead line through the Weinviertel (“wine quarter”) in the northeast of Lower Austria. APG is investing €200m in the project and construction will start in summer 2019.

The increase in capacity of the more than 70-year-old line from 220kV to mostly 380kV is to be accompanied by the bundling of infrastructure, which results in a reduction of 15km of line and 53 pylons and thus relieves the population and nature reserves. In addition, the new line will be connected to the regional distribution grid via a new substation to be built in Neusiedl/Zaya. This will significantly improve the quality of the electricity supply in the Weinviertel and is a precondition for the further integration of wind and solar energy in Lower Austria.

Dr. Ulrike Baumgartner-Gabitzer, CEO of APG, comments on the approval: “We are happy about this result as a consequence of a very transparent process involving all parties concerned.” Gerhard Christiner, CTO of the TSO, emphasises the importance of the upgrade both for supply security as well as the integration of renewables and adds: “The Weinviertel line is an essential component for the realisation of the energy and climate strategy #mission 2030 adopted by the Austrian Federal Government.”

APG has received approval to upgrade the Weinviertel line in Lower Austria (picture: photo composition)

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> See APG press release, in German (html)

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Construction start for Wilhelmshaven-Conneforde line in Germany

09.11.2018

The power line from Wilhelmshaven on the German North Sea coast to the Conneforde substation in Ammerland, both in the federal state of Lower Saxony, is one of those line projects in Germany that are urgently needed to extend the transmission capacities for wind energy from northern Germany to the consumption centres in the south and west. Moreover, the 380kV line is one of the German pilot projects for partial underground cabling in the three-phase current range. It will be around 30km long and comprise 60 pylons. In two sections, underground cables will be laid over a length of around 5.3km.

TSCNET shareholder TenneT has now begun construction of the new line with a symbolic turning of the first sod in Conneforde. The Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO) by no means celebrated its first new construction in recent times: “This is already the fifth grid expansion project in Lower Saxony for which we can officially start construction within one year,” explains Lex Hartman, Managing Director of TenneT. Also the Fedderwarden substation (near Wilhelmshaven) is yet to be built. The scheduled commissioning date for line and substation is 2020.

To create transparency in the design process, TenneT involved the interested public, citizens as well as public stakeholders, much more in the planning than the formal procedure would have prescribed. In three years, the TSO has organised nine information markets along the route and conducted numerous individual discussions. “It is our central concern to harmonise our projects as closely as possible with the country and its people, while realising a secure energy supply for the benefit of electricity consumers,” explains Mr Hartman.

From left to right: Andreas Wagner, Lord Mayor of Wilhelmshaven; Dr. Maren Bergmann, Project Manager at TenneT; Rolf Neuhaus, responsible Head of Department at the District of Friesland (picture: TenneT)

TenneT celebrates the construction start of the powerline project Wilhelmshaven-Conneforde (illustration based on screenshots taken from a TenneT video on YouTube)

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

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Successful test for the Combined Grid Solution

09.11.2018

The Combined Grid Solution is a joint offshore connection project by the two TSCNET shareholders 50Hertz, one of the four German Transmission System Operators (TSOs), and the Danish TSO Energinet. The binational interconnector in the Baltic Sea will integrate the electricity systems of Denmark and Germany by linking the German wind farm Baltic 2 to the Danish wind farm Kriegers Flak. The utilisation of grid connections from offshore wind farms to couple the transmission grids of two countries is nothing less than a world premiere.

The laying of the two submarine cables “150kV-line KFE-BaZ 155“ and “150kV-line KFE-BaZ 156“ was completed at the beginning of July and the two TSOs have now successfully conducted 24-hour testing of both cables. Around noon on 6 November and in the afternoon thereafter, the two cables were energised one after the other up to the disconnector on the offshore substation OSS KFE and now are ready to transport electricity. Sebastian Wagner, Sub-Project Manager Sea cables at 50Hertz, and Energinet’s Project Manager Daniel Johan Brøndum jointly declared: “Everyone in the team worked closely together and delivered to-the-point. We are very happy and celebrate this success together.”

The submarine cables for the Danish-German offshore interconnector Combined Grid Solution of 50Hertz and Energinet were successfully tested (illustration based on pictures of 50Hertz / Sebastian Wagner)

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> See 50Hertz project news (html)
> See Energinet project news (html)

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ELES presents FutureFlow progress

08.11.2018

The EU-funded FutureFlow project explores innovative e-trading solutions for smart cross-border balancing and redispatching in the control areas of four central-south European transmission system operators (TSOs), all shareholders of TSCNET. The project is coordinated by the Slovenian TSO ELES, the other TSO participants being APG from Austria, MAVIR from Hungary, and Transelectrica from Romania. In times of increasing regenerative energy generation and lack of flexibility services from conventional plants, the FutureFlow consortium considers the prosumer as a new source of flexibility for the transmission grid.

A cross-border pilot with 48MW of flexible power capacity in Austria, Hungary, Romania and Slovenia has already proven that the involvement of the prosumers can save regulating energy. In order to communicate these and other results, ELES representatives took the opportunity to promote FutureFlow during the “European Utility Week” in the Austrian capital of Vienna. At the introductory panel “Interoperable Platforms and Data Exchange for Energy Services” on 6 November, mag. Uroš Salobir, Director of the Strategic Innovation Department at ELES, explained with regard to the cross-border integration of the system service markets: “For automatic frequency control, the FutureFlow project offers 60% savings and up to 57% for redispatching.”

Eles promoted the FutureFlow project for smart cross-border balancing and redispatching on the “European Utility Week” in Vienna (picture based on screenshots taken from FutureFlow promotional video)

Linkup
> See ELES press release (html)
> Visit FutureFlow website (html)
> Watch FutureFlow promotional video “Prosumers as guardians of the power system” (YouTube)

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First TenneT Offshore Conference

07.11.2018

The EUREF Campus is the sustainability city quarter of the German capital Berlin with a climate-neutral energy supply and hence the ideal location for the first Offshore Conference of TSCNET shareholder TenneT, which took place on 6 November 2018. Headlined “Land in Sight – The Future of Offshore”, 170 decision-makers from politics, business and the media accepted the invitation of the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO) and took part in information panels, lectures and panel discussions. TenneT experts provided far-reaching insights into current pilot projects, information on ongoing studies, cooperations and concepts for future digital smart grid management.

“Offshore is a success story,” was how TenneT CEO Manon van Beek summed up the development to date. “Our conviction is that the second, decisive phase of the energy transition – the integration of 60, 70, 80% renewables and more – will only be successful if we address the issues in a bundled way.” This requires next to infrastructural improvements technical innovations, digitalisation, flexibility and the coupling of sectors.” Lex Hartman, Managing Director of TenneT, described the range of the TSO’s future-oriented approach: “From electric vehicles, blockchain storage and power-to-gas projects to the introduction of acceptability increasing underground cable technologies.” Wilfried Breuer, Managing Director TenneT Offshore, highlighted the company’s success in offshore development: “In the German North Sea, TenneT currently operates eleven offshore grid connection systems with a total capacity of 6,232MW to transmit wind energy from sea to land. This means that already now TenneT is almost completely meeting the German Federal Government’s expansion target of 6,500MW of offshore wind capacity by 2020.”

A key element of the conference was the North Sea Wind Power Hub, a visionary interconnection system that combines the generation, storage and transmission of wind energy with a multinational connection of the transmission systems of the North Sea riparian states. Also on display was an electric car already equipped with bidirectionally functioning batteries. As part of a pilot project, these batteries, which can both store electricity and feed it back into the grid, are used for redispatch. But what turned out to be the somehow “secret star” of the event was “ANYmal”, a special robot that – due to its highly developed motion characteristics – in test runs is already independently performing maintenance and repair work in TenneT’s onshore and offshore facilities.

TenneT held its first Offshore Conference in Berlin, Germany, which was attended by a prominent audience (picture: TenneT)

Linkup
> See TenneT press release, in German (html)
> Watch “ANYmal” demonstration videos on Twitter (html)

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TransnetBW pilot on eco-efficient insulating gas

06.11.2018

At its substation in Obermooweiler near the historic city of Wangen im Allgäu and north-east of Lake Constance, TSCNET shareholder TransnetBW, one of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs), is planning nothing less than the world’s first gas-insulated switchgear at extra-high voltage level employing alternative and climate-friendly gas technology. The objective is to apply for the first time in practice an innovative type of insulating gas whose greenhouse effect is more than 99 percent lower than that of the currently used sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) and which is equal to or lower than that of CO2.

There are obvious reasons why SF6 has been the industry standard as insulating gas in high-voltage systems for decades: It has excellent electrical properties, is non-toxic and chemically very stable. However, SF6 suffers from a strong greenhouse effect. For climate protection reasons, TransnetBW is thus looking for eco-efficient alternatives. The TSO’s research project aims to provide new insights into the use of an environmentally friendly alternative gas mixture in gas-insulated 380kV switchgears. TransnetBW’s partner in the project, the engineering company ABB, has experiences in the use of alternative insulating gases for switchgears in distribution grids at lower voltage levels. This expertise will now be jointly transferred to the 380kV level.

“The transmission grid integrates renewable energies and is a key element in implementing the energy transition. We also want to promote new solutions for more climate and environmental protection in the design of our grid infrastructure,” explains Dr. Werner Götz, CEO of TransnetBW. The first preparatory construction measures for the new facility are planned for March 2019. As early as 2021, the new switchgear will be connected in a first implementing step. This means an initial SF6 saving of around 55 percent. In the following second step, the existing installation will be converted. From 2026, the entire system will be SF6-free.

TransnetBW has started a research pilot for the use of climate-friendly insulating gas in gas-insulated switchgears at 380kV level (picture based on screenshots taken from video “ABB commissions world’s first switchgear installation with new eco efficient gas”; ABB, YouTube)

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

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ACER releases ITC report

02.11.2018

Every year, the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) reviews the implementation of the Inter-Transmission System Operator Compensation (ITC) mechanism on behalf of the European Commission (EC). This also includes the monitoring of the management of the ITC Fund established by the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E). The purpose of this fund is to compensate transmission system operators (TSOs) for the costs incurred as a result of the hosting of cross-border electricity flows.

ACER has now published the ITC report for 2017, in which the Agency concludes that the implementation of the ITC mechanism and the management of the ITC Fund in 2017 continued to comply with the requirements of the relevant European regulation. While the ITC Fund remained relatively stable at €259.35m compared to 2016, the volume of transitory losses increased significantly. However, the increasing impact on the losses component of the ITC Fund was almost fully offset by a notable reduction in the weighted average value of losses for the ITC parties. This average value of 35.36€/MWh was actually the lowest since 2011.

ACER has released its report on the Inter-Transmission System Operator Compensation mechanism in 2017

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> See ACER press release (html, with access to report)

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Swissgrid pursues Strategy 2022

01.11.2018

The Swiss transmission system operator (TSO), TSCNET shareholder Swissgrid, rightly considers itself as the backbone of supply security in Switzerland. In order to underpin this status in the future and to further increase the company’s efficiency and professionalism, Swissgrid designed the Strategy 2022. This entails corporate restructuring and new business unit developments as of 1 January 2019, especially in regard to system operation, asset management as well as development and digitisation.

To achieve the long-term goals in accordance with the TSO’s overarching Energy Strategy 2050, Swissgrid has defined four well-considered priority areas in which measures are to be implemented by 2022: “Safety for people, systems and the environment”, “Integrated plant and system operations”, “Intelligent use of new technologies” and “Close cooperation with partners in Switzerland and Europe”. Within these benchmarks, the main structural changes are the establishment of three newly designed operational divisions, namely the Market Business Unit, Grid Infrastructure, and a Research & Digitalisation team.

The new Market Business Unit allows integrated system operation by combining market and grid operation. The future task distribution within this unit ensures compatibility with the harmonised European network codes for cross-border electricity exchange. Secondly, Grid Infrastructure will focus exclusively on asset management, thereby significantly increasing the tasks and capacities for grid maintenance, extension and modernisation. Finally, the Research & Digitalisation team integrates all of Swissgrid’s applied research and development activities, which were previously spread across business units. This should promote innovation particularly in the areas of automation and digitisation.

Swissgrid reorganises its corporate structure by implementing the new Strategy 2022 (picture: Swissgrid)

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> See Swissgrid media release (html)

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