Preparations for market inclusion of COBRAcable

15.03.2019

COBRAcable will be the first direct link between the electricity markets of Denmark and the Netherlands. It is a joint project of the two transmission system operators (TSOs) and TSCNET shareholders Energinet from Denmark and TenneT, the Dutch-German TSO. By increasing the exchange of surplus wind energy, the DC interconnector is to improve the cohesion of the European transmission system and the integration of the electricity market. COBRAcable also makes a sustainable contribution to the low-carbon energy future by providing the opportunity to hook up future North Sea offshore wind farms to the connection. The entire cable route comprises 329km, of which 307km are offshore and 22km onshore. Since two cables are laid in parallel, the total length of the cables is 658km.

COBRAcable reached the Dutch shore at the Eemshaven connection point in November 2018 and will be commissioned this year. Now the two TSOs are preparing the commercial operation of COBRAcable scheduled for the third quarter of 2019. The concrete measures are the inclusion of COBRAcable in the day ahead and intraday market coupling systems on 16 April 2019 and in the market coupling results on the following day, each with an allocated capacity of zero. The objective of this is to test the relevant IT systems and prepare for a successful launch of commercial operations later in the year.

Energinet and Tennet carry out a test inclusion of COBRAcable in the market coupling (picture: screenshot taken from video “COBRAcable kommer i land ved Eemshaven”, Energinet – Vimeo)

Linkup
> See Energinet press release (html)

See article on single page

New hire: Oscar-worthy move to Service Operations

14.03.2019

When the Academy Awards were ceremoniously given in Hollywood at the end of February, we at TSCNET Services had a relaxed time leaning back: We already had our Oscar. And as the “Roma” director Alfonso Cuarón, probably the most undisputed winner of this year, reminded of his home country Mexico, we were also on the bright side: Mexico indeed is also the birthplace of Oscar F. Muñoz, the new Senior Service Analytics & Quality Manager in our Service Operations unit.

Oscar was born 43 years ago in Mexico City, with officially just under nine million inhabitants one of the world’s largest cities. The connection to electric power was already there: His father was an electrical technician, and at the age of twelve Oscar chose electricity as a school subject. After graduating from the Instituto Politécnico Nacional with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and energy systems, he went to the USA to earn his Master of Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. After about two and a half years as an electrical design engineer and then as a bids & proposals engineer for medium and low voltage equipment, Oscar worked for 16 years in the development of software for use in the analysis, simulation and visualisation of electrical networks, first in the USA, then in Tübingen, Baden-Württemberg.

At the end of 2018, Oscar signed up for TSCNET Services. “I was interested in a career transition from conceiving and implementing software tools for power systems to the utilisation of such software in direct applications within the environment of transmission system operators,” he explains. In Munich, his ambitious goal is to combine his education, his skills, and his many years of experience to contribute to the improvement and development of processes and tools for the analysis and visualisation of complex large-scale power systems. Hollywood, please make a note of this – it sounds like some award-winning deeds again.

Oscar F. Muñoz is the new Senior Service Analytics & Quality Manager in the Service Operations unit

See article on single page

New syllabus for network codes

12.03.2019

The EU electricity network codes and guidelines are a detailed set of rules to promote the harmonisation of national electricity markets and regulations on the way to the European Energy Union. By the end of 2017, a total of eight network codes and guidelines have been implemented: three grid connection codes, three market codes and two operation codes. In order to raise awareness of these innovative pan-European rules for a more sustainable, reliable and interconnected power system and to better involve market participants in the code contents and their implementation, the Florence School of Regulation (FSR) has published a new syllabus as part of its online training on European network codes.

The online course partners of the FSR are those institutions that have developed the codes: the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E), the European Agency for Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) and the European Commission. The new manual deals mainly with market codes and discusses, for instance, the different European electricity markets and their establishment in the national context as well as their integration. Also, two connection codes are described and their technical requirements clarified. The syllabus is also a beneficial addition to ENTSO-E’s e-codes application for smartphones.

The FSR has published a new syllabus on the European electricity network codes (picture: photomontage using an illustration by the European Union / EC – Audiovisual Service)

Linkup
> See ENTSO-E press release (html)
> Visit Network codes syllabus website of the European University Institute (html, with access to download)

See article on single page

Royal interest in the Wind Power Hub

07.03.2019

TenneT, the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO), had the honour of hosting high-ranking visitors. During the German-Dutch trade delegation meeting on 6 March 2019 in the German North Sea port of Bremerhaven, Manon van Beek, CEO of the TSCNET shareholder, presented the vision and current plans for the North Sea Wind Power Hub in attendance of the Dutch King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima.

The North Sea Wind Power Hub concept combines wind energy production, storage, and transmission with a multinational interconnection of North Sea riparian states. In addition to TenneT, the international hub consortium includes the Danish TSO Energinet, another TSCNET shareholder, the port of Rotterdam and the Dutch natural gas company Gasunie. Hence, power-to-gas technologies are also involved in the hub concept. A transnational transmission grid, controlled through a distribution hub in the North Sea and enabling the feed-in and distribution of vast quantities of offshore wind energy, would strengthen the whole European energy market and increase the security of supply across the continent.

The Dutch royal couple took great interest in the virtual and interactive model of the hub concept showcased at the meeting. Manon van Beek was most appreciative of this aristocratic concern: “We are especially pleased and honoured by the interest of the royal couple in the energy hub.” The TenneT CEO considers the Power Hub to be a valuable instrument in achieving the objectives of the Paris Agreement. In this regard, the royal visit was beneficial because the realisation of a low-carbon energy future “requires international cooperation and coordination, political momentum and courage and the support of non-governmental organisations”, van Beek concluded.

TenneT has presented the North Sea Wind Power Hub in the presence of the Dutch royal couple (picture: TenneT)

Linkup
> See TenneT press release (html)
> Visit North Sea Wind Power Hub website (html)

See article on single page

Eco-compatibility of “Salzburgleitung” approved

06.03.2019

It took 77 months to come to a final decision, but with its verdict of 5 March 2019, the Federal Administrative Court in the Austrian capital of Vienna now has validly confirmed the environmental compatibility of the Salzburg Line (“Salzburgleitung”), a project of TSCNET shareholder APG. The national transmission system operator (TSO) can thus secure not only Salzburg’s electricity supply, but significantly increase the security of supply for the whole of Austria.

Since the 380kV line is one of Austria’s most important infrastructure projects, Gerhard Christiner and Thomas Karall, CTO and CFO of APG respectively, consider the court’s decision a milestone for Austria’s energy infrastructure: “With the Salzburg Line, APG is creating the conditions for integrating the planned massive expansion of renewable energies such as wind and photovoltaics into the electricity grid and for ensuring Austria’s secure long-term electricity supply.” The line project is a key factor in fulfilling the “#mission 2030”, the Austrian energy and climate strategy that sets the national goal of covering 100% of electricity consumption with renewable energies by 2030.

In the actual APG grid planning, the Salzburg Line is crucial for completing the so-called 380kV Safety Ring, which is to form the backbone of the future Austrian transmission system. By connecting the main wind power generation areas in the east of the country with the pumped storage power plants in the west, surplus wind power capacities not consumed locally can be transported to the storage facilities in the Alps. If required, electricity can then be retrieved again. In this way, renewable energy sources will be used more efficiently.

The environmental compatibility of the Salzburg Line project of APG has been confirmed by the court of last resort (picture: APG)

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

See article on single page

Tim Meyerjürgens appointed as new COO of TenneT

05.03.2019

When it was made known that Wilfried Breuer, one of the two Chief Operations Officers (COO) of TSCNET shareholder TenneT, would leave the company with effect from 1 April 2019, the Supervisory Board of the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO) has commenced a thorough search for an adequate successor. Now Tim Meyerjürgens has been appointed COO of TenneT Holding BV alongside Ben Voorhorst.

Both the Supervisory Board and the Executive Board are pleased to have found in Tim Meyerjürgens a candidate within the company who, with 23 years of experience in the energy sector, possesses a broad technical and operational expertise. Throughout the current month, Tim Meyerjürgens and Wilfried Breuer will be working closely together to ensure a seamless handover.

Tim Meyerjürgens is appointed new COO of TenneT (illustartion based on pictures from Tennet)

Linkup
> See TenneT press release (html)

See article on single page

Kick-off for Croatian-Serbian-Bulgarian market integration

28.02.2019

A first group meeting in the Serbian capital of Belgrade was the initiation of the trilateral market coupling between Croatia, Serbia, and Bulgaria. The successful event was attended by representatives of the three national transmission system operators (TSOs), including the Croatian TSCNET shareholder HOPS, and the three respective electricity exchanges as well as regulatory authorities.

Together, the parties involved have committed themselves to make every effort and providing the necessary resources to ensure the feasibility of the project and its timely implementation. The final objective is to establish a trilateral market coupling according to the European Multi-Regional Coupling (MRC) specifications.

The Croatian-Serbian-Bulgarian market coupling was initiated by a first meeting of the main stakeholders (photo of Belgrade: falco/Pixabay)

Linkup
> See HOPS press release, in Croatian (html)

See article on single page

50Hertz plans to invest some €3.4bn

26.02.2019

Northeast Germany – and thus the control area of TSCNET shareholder 50Hertz, one of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs) – continues to be a pioneer in the integration of renewable energies in Central Europe. For the second year in a row, renewables accounted for more than half of electricity consumption, and once more a new record was set with a regenerative share of 56.5% (2017: 53.4%). The installed capacity of renewables rose to 32.9GW, which is why Boris Schucht, CEO of 50Hertz, had every reason to express his contentment with this development during the 50Hertz balance sheet press conference on 26 February 2019 in the German capital of Berlin: “We are proud that with this record share of renewables, we can contribute to a successful energy transition.” Since this share will increase continuously in the 50Hertz control area, the federal growth target of 65% for 2030 can be achieved as early as 2021.

At the same time, the costs for congestion management, mainly caused by redispatch, fell significantly last year, by an impressive €100m to around €105m. This is due in particular to the effect of the extra-high voltage line “Südwest-Kuppelleitung” (aka “Thuringian Power Bridge”) and two now fully operational phase-shifting transformers (PSTs) on the borders with Poland and the Czech Republic respectively. But also in the future, the expansion of the transmission infrastructure must keep pace with that of the renewables. 50Hertz is taking this into account with exceptionally high investments in the transformation of the energy system. These are facilitated by the TSO’s excellent operating results. Over the past five years, 50Hertz has already invested over €3bn in the grid (€492m in 2018). By 2023, 50Hertz plans to spend a further €3.4bn (€420m in 2019).

Among the outstanding infrastructure projects are the “Ostwind 1” offshore connection, which has been in trial operation since last year, and the “Combined Grid Solution”, a Danish-German interconnector in the Baltic Sea that links the German “Baltic 2” wind farm with the Danish “Kriegers Flak” farm and will be connected to the grid in 2019. The supra-regional DC project “SuedOstLink” is making significant progress, too, as the federal sector planning is underway and the European tender for the underground cables has been launched. 50Hertz CTO Dr. Frank Golletz, who will take over the function of Boris Schucht as interim CEO from 1 March 2019, announced the continuation of the TSO’s ambitious investment program. Golletz also pointed out that the political and regulatory framework must be optimised and made innovation-friendly to realise the energy transition.

50Hertz presents excellent results for 2018 and announces further sustainable investments in its transmission grid (illustration using pictures of 50Hertz)

Linkup
> See 50Hertz press release (html)
> Open press conference presentation, in German (pdf, 4.09MB)

See article on single page

ELES grid development plan officially approved

25.02.2019

Last week the Slovenian Ministry of Infrastructure agreed to the new transmission network development plan of national transmission system operator (TSO) and TSCNET shareholder ELES. The plan covers the period 2019-2028 and provides an overview of the current situation and the necessary measures to be taken in Slovenia’s electricity system to ensure sufficient transmission capacity and appropriate voltage conditions. It takes proper account of long-term forecasts for the increase in electricity consumption, the intended construction of new generation units and the expected expansion of the national as well as the pan-European transmission system.

New transmission network development plan of ELES approved by the Ministry of Infrastructure (picture: InterContinental Ljubljana)

Linkup
> See ELES press release (html)

See article on single page

TSOs introduce possible SuedLink routings

21.02.2019

The SuedLink extra-high voltage line is an integral part of Germany’s future low-carbon energy infrastructure. Major supra-regional projects such as Suedlink are included in the German Federal Requirements Plan Act and are often referred to as “power highways”. In order to reach Germany’s and Europe’s climate goals, they are indispensable to link the windy regions of northern Germany with the consumption centres in the industrially highly developed south. SuedLink is jointly carried out by the two TSCNET shareholders TenneT, the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO), and TransnetBW, the TSO from southwest Germany.

The European “Project of Common Interest” (PCI) with an investment volume of around €10bn is planned as a DC underground cable. It comprises two measures with a capacity of 2GW each, from the northernmost federal state of Schleswig-Holstein through western Lower Saxony, northern Hesse and southern Thuringia to Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg respectively. In 2017, TenneT and TransnetBW defined a whole network of possible corridor sections suitable for detailed consideration. On that basis, the Federal Network Agency (Bundesnetzagentur) decided on the cable routes to be thoroughly analysed. In recent months, TenneT and TransnetBW then carried out an in-depth examination and evaluation of these corridor alternatives by applying around 150 criteria.

On 21 February, the two TSOs presented the proposed corridor and the other corridor options derived from their study to the Network Agency. “With the detailed studies of the possible corridor variants, we have now identified a specific underground cable corridor that has the smallest possible impact on humans and nature,” explains Manon van Beek, CEO at TenneT. To give all interested parties the opportunity to inform themselves in advance, TenneT and TransnetBW publish the overview maps of the proposed corridor and the grid of all possible corridors on their respective project websites. Numerous dialogue events are to follow. “Transparency is one of our highest priorities,” comments Dr. Werner Götz, CEO at TransnetBW, on this procedure.

TenneT and TransnetBW present possible corridor variants for SuedLink (picture: TenneT)

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

See article on single page