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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BorWin3 in operation

12.08.2019

The offshore grid connection BorWin3 operated by TSCNET shareholder TenneT in the German Bight is ready for feed-in since early August. This means that the total transmission capacity for offshore wind farms in the German North Sea is already 7.132GW. The Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO) has thus not only met the German government’s expansion targets for sustainable North Sea wind power – 6.5GW by 2020 – but has significantly exceeded them.

BorWin3, TenneT’s twelfth offshore grid connection project, brings a further 900MW capacity. After BorWin1 and BorWin2, it is the third connection that the TSO has implemented near the East Frisian island of Borkum using DC technology. The corresponding converter and transformer station were built at TenneT’s Emden/Ost site to feed the green energy into the onshore extra-high voltage grid. BorWin3 bridges a total distance of 160km. The submarine cable is 130km long and the last section ashore to Emden/Ost is completed by underground cabling.

The TSO can be satisfied with its own offshore progress, but TenneT Managing Director Tim Meyerjürgens calls for further efforts, as the current rate of offshore wind expansion in Europe is not sufficient to achieve the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement. “An accelerated, large-scale and internationally coordinated expansion is necessary,” explains Meyerjürgens. In this context, TenneT has just presented a feasibility study of the North Sea Wind Power Hub concept for the implementation of wind power distribution hubs in the North Sea. Meyerjürgens points out that with an internationally coordinated approach the connection and integration of large offshore wind energy capacities could be much more effective and cost-efficient than with continued individual national planning.

In early August, the offshore grid connection BorWin3 of TenneT was put into operation (picture of the offshore converter platform BorWin gamma: TenneT)

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> See TenneT press release, in German (html)

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Soft skills training for concrete goals

12.08.2019

“Soft skills get little respect, but they will make or break your career,” says Peggy Klaus, a best-selling author and communication and leadership coach. We at TSCNET Services take a similar view. “We highly believe in the importance of continuous learning and growing together,” explains Aanchal Sood, HR & Development Manager and responsible for the TSCNET Academy with its training opportunities. The latest training is a good example of both our commitment and the opportunities we offer our employees.

At the beginning of July, one third of our employees took part in a tailor-made training programme in a well-equipped hotel directly at Lake Starnberg, about one-hour drive south of Munich. The two-day training was focused communication, team building, awareness, and diversity. A similar training was organised at the end of May and another batch is planned for September 2019 as well – this way all our employees get the opportunity to attend the programme and learn in a nice interactive environment with their colleagues. The training received first class ratings from the participants and enriched our workplace environment.

Impulses in a new environment
“When I look back at the training,” says Gopi Jayasurian, who recently joined as Junior Operations Manager, “I would see it as an overall learning experience in a professional yet very serene environment with beautiful nature around it. I think we all realised the importance of emotional intelligence and mindfulness for teamwork and organisation”. He also appreciated the direct communication and the exchange with his new co-workers. “I could not have asked for a better start than this!” emphasises Gopi.

One of Gopi’s new colleagues is business analyst Irina Boiarchuk, who has been with TSCNET Services for more than a year and a half. “For me, the training was a great refreshment through the new environment and the open, creative and motivating atmosphere,” she states. It was already her second soft skills training with us. “I have been able to further develop existing skills and gain new experience at the same time.” Irina especially liked the very lively teambuilding activities and the opportunity to get to know her colleagues and their so different personalities even better. She also gave high praise to the external trainers from High Balance, a local coaching and training provider.

All for one and one for all…
Its founder Nicola Rohner, dedicated to “holistic training and coaching”, was one of them – as often before. “Once again, we had an awesome training session in which we were able to work on the individual potential of the employees as well as grow together as a team,” she concluded. Working in such a fast growing and diverse company with so many different backgrounds and cultures is both a challenge and a wonderful opportunity. “In such a situation, being able to change perspectives and respect each other’s individual characteristics is not just nice to have, but an essential factor. But this is also one of the reasons why I enjoy working with TSCNET so much – the team’s unconditional will to change things and themselves for the better.” This by the way is exactly what we will try to do again with our future training offers.

TSCNET Services believes in first-class training and personal development (private pictures from training participants)

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ELES and Renault cooperate in e-mobility project

09.08.2019

“Demonstration of User-Friendly E-Vehicle Charging Solutions for Promoting Mass Use of E-Vehicles in Europe – INCIT-EV” is the somewhat lengthy but therefore very precise and apposite name of a research project conceived by TSCNET shareholder ELES together with 32 international partners. Probably the most prominent cooperation partner of the Slovenian transmission system operator (TSO) is the French multinational automobile manufacturer Renault, but the Italian automotive industry is also actively involved.

The core objective of the project, funded by the EU with around €15m under the framework of the Horizon 2020 programme, is the utilisation of advanced charging infrastructures and technologies and the development of corresponding business models. INCIT-EV is designed in line with the concept of the “E8 E-Vehicle Mass Charging Infrastructure” developed by ELES, which strives to make charging as simple, intuitive, and user-friendly as possible. The aim of the TSO is to extend the Slovenian E8 concept to the European level. The project partners also use neuroscientific techniques to adapt the development of the technology to the unconscious preferences and subjective expectations of e-car users.

ELES and Renault cooperate in e-mobility project (picture: ELES)

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> See ELES press release, in Slovenian (html)

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New Project Manager in Portfolio Management

08.08.2019

The origin and meaning of the name Monica are not fully clarified. It could come from the Greek Monos and mean something like “unique”, or from the Latin Monachus for “monk”. Both should be fine in the case of Monica Fabi, the new Project Manager in the Portfolio Management business unit. It’s simple with the monks – the city of Munich is named after the monks and therefore has a very similar name in Italian: Monaco. And the “unique” we adopt for Monica’s professional skills.

Born in Rome, she has been working in IT for around 20 years, mainly in application development and maintenance, and has mostly worked in international teams. The 46-year-old has been living in Munich for several years now and loves meeting people from all over the world and talking to them about their different habits and cultures. That’ s why TSCNET Services is the right place for her.

Monica studied mathematics at La Sapienza University in Rome and holds a Project Management Professional certification from the Project Management Institute (PMI), the world’s largest project management organisation. She wants to use her experience and knowledge to help her new co-workers cope with the many challenges that projects present, from deadline pressure and task volume to budget. Ultimately, it’s all about customer satisfaction, explains Monica. “I want to contribute to the growth and success of the company – and continue to enjoy my work,” she adds.

Next to work, she enjoys reading, trekking, visiting art museums and studying new methods and techniques related to her discipline. Even the museum trips could prove helpful: “Being a Project Manager is like being an artist, you have the different coloured process streams combining into a work of art,” as her well-known colleague Greg Cimmarrusti puts it.

Monica Fabi, the new Project Manager in the Portfolio Management business unit (picture: TSCNET Services)

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New hire: Fledgling artist bridging the gap

06.08.2019

“He is always pleasure working with and he has shown tremendous responsibility and sense of delivery with a strong technical strength,” writes one of his former superiors on a well-known international professional platform. We at TSCNET also believe in his qualities and are pleased to introduce him as the new Solution Architect in the Business Unit Service Development: Krishnakumar Srinikethan Gaddam, Krishna for short.

Born in India, he completed his Bachelor of Engineering in Computer Science in 2006 and most recently worked for various companies in Germany and Belgium as a Technical Architect and as a Business Analyst respectively SOA Solution Architect. In our team, he wants to act as a bridge between business with TSOs, other RSCs, and ENTSO-E on the one hand, and IT on the other. He sees an important focus of his work in streamlining and governing IT provision using architectural principles.

Krishna chose our company not only because he is interested in the field of energy. He is convinced that the IT evolution is still in its fledgling stages compared to other industries, “so I have the opportunity to explore, learn, develop and articulate the best of the IT practices,” he says. That is something his new co-workers certainly can endorse!

TSCNET has welcomed Krishna Gaddam as the new Solution Architect in the Business Unit Service Development (picture: TSCNET Services)

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TSO conditions for reserve capacity approved

05.08.2019

The four German transmission system operators (TSOs), the TSCNET shareholders 50Hertz, Amprion, TransnetBW and Tennet, the Dutch-German TSO, ensure the supply of electricity under all circumstances and thus hold reserve capacities as ultima ratio for unforeseeable and exceptional extreme situations on the electricity market. The reserve capacity is calculated at 2GW and the facilities to provide the capacity are determined every two years by the TSOs through a tendering procedure.

Last week, the Bundesnetzagentur (German Federal Network Agency) approved the new standard conditions for the reserve capacity which had been drafted by the TSOs. The standard conditions are the basis of the contractual relationship between the respective TSO and the operator providing the capacity. They are designed to be as transparent as possible and include, among other things, rules on the availability and use of the reserve system, remuneration or contractual penalties.

Due to the standard conditions, the potential participants in the tender procedure know the terms under which the reserve facilities must be operated and the legal consequences in case of failure of a plant. Now that the conditions have been approved, the tender for the first performance period can start as planned on 1 September 2019.

The German Federal Network Agency approved the TSO standard conditions for reserve capacity (picture: Bundesnetzagentur)

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> See press release by the Bundesnetzagentur, in German (html)

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TenneT on track for the energy transition

31.07.2019

Highly satisfactory business results and maintenance of the high level of 99.99% security of supply, are hallmarks of the half year report of the Dutch-German TSCNET shareholder Tennet. The latter is a growing challenge for the transmission system operator (TSO) because of the increased feed-in of volatile renewable energy. But above all, the report illustrates the commitment of the TSO to the European energy transition.

To take further steps in shaping the energy system of the future, TenneT has launched a series of strategic initiatives and partnerships to join forces across sectors. TenneT is participating in a German power-to-gas pilot project and is working together with regional grid operators and market partners on smart solutions to optimise the use of existing electricity infrastructure. The TSO is also involved in blockchain pilots to create flexibility for balancing the power system from decentralised sources.

TenneT has further strengthened its position as a leading offshore TSO. In Germany, TenneT has awarded DolWin 5, the 14th offshore grid connection. TenneT will increase its current offshore transmission capacity from 6,232MW in the German North Sea to almost 9GW by 2024. In the Netherlands, too, the development of the offshore grid with the Borssele Alpha and Beta projects is on schedule. TenneT intends to provide a total of 10.6GW of connection capacity for Dutch offshore wind farms by 2030. The TSO is also carrying out several onshore projects to ensure the transport of the growing amount of green electricity and thus security of supply in its control areas. Important interconnecting projects are the NordLink cable connection, which is currently being built to directly link the German and Norwegian markets for the first time. The COBRAcable between the Netherlands and Denmark has “landed” at the Dutch shore and will go into operation this year.

These developments are complemented by solid and impressive figures: Underlying operating result (EBIT) rose from €362m (first half of 2018) to €407m in the first half of 2019. €1,094m (first half of 2018: €904m) were invested in the Dutch and German high-voltage grids (of which €612m in Germany) and a total of €1.75bn green bonds were successfully issued. Manon van Beek, CEO of TenneT, comments on the report: “We have embarked on an irreversible transition to a sustainable society and a new energy system. This requires investments, not only in new electricity connections, but also in innovations and digitalisation. We have to move to holistic energy system thinking and also work on solutions to make better use of the existing high-voltage grids. We are convinced that this is the way forward to limit social costs and at the same time maintain a very high security of supply.”

TenneT presents its half year report 2019 (picture: TenneT)

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> See TenneT press release (html)
> Open Half year report 2019 (pdf, 803kb)

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Completion of repairs at Albula Pass

30.07.2019

In mid-April, TSCNET shareholder Swissgrid, the Swiss transmission system operator (TSO), began repairing the 380kV lines on the Albula Pass in the canton of Grisons, which had been damaged by the windstorm Adrian (Vaia in the German-speaking area), in the night of 29 to 30 October 2018. Since then, the two affected lines (Filisur-Robbia and Pradella-Robbia-Sils) were out of service, as Swissgrid decided for safety reasons not to erect a temporary connection in winter due to the danger of avalanches. The four damaged pylons and the conductors have now been replaced. On 29 July 2019, the lines were put back in operation as scheduled.

During the outage of the lines, grid security in the transmission system was always guaranteed and there were no supply interruptions. But the importance of the line as a north-south link made the repair particularly urgent. Thanks to partial snow clearance by the Civil Engineering Office of Grisons and a temporary avalanche protection system, Swissgrid was able to start work even before the official opening of the Albulapass road. Thus, Swissgrid was already able to start work on the four pylons on 15 April. The old foundations were removed, and new ones laid. The pylons were then built, and the conductors installed. The new pylons withstand even greater wind forces due to their stronger foundations and supporting structures. Two pylons now also have foundations with integrated avalanche protection.

Strict safety regulations were followed during the work. The high alpine terrain and the unpredictable weather of the snowy winter of 2018/19 presented the repair team with major challenges. The local avalanche commission issued an avalanche bulletin every day and activities were planned based on this information. The specialists on the construction sites were equipped with avalanche detectors and a container would have provided 48 hours of protection in an emergency. The work was accident-free. The Swiss TSO also developed and implemented a comprehensive environmental plan to protect the high alpine landscape. For example, the soil layers were removed and stored separately and returned to their original place after completion of the foundation work. The original state of the surroundings was then restored as far as possible.

Swissgrid has finished repair work on the damaged overhead lines at the Albula Pass (picture: Swissgrid)

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> See Swissgrid media release (html)
> Watch the Swissgrid video on the repairs (YouTube)

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50Hertz and TenneT awarded for PtG projects

26.07.2019

Last week, Peter Altmaier, the German Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, announced the winners of the ideas competition “Reallabore der Energiewende” (“Real Laboratories of the Energy Transition), which aims to promote promising energy technologies of the future, especially in the field of hydrogen technology. The winners include the two TSCNET shareholders 50Hertz, the transmission system operator (TSO) from north-east Germany, and Tennet, the Dutch-German TSO, as they are both involved in award winning projects.

Tennet is cooperating with Gasunie and Thyssengas for ELEMENT ONE, a power-to-gas (PtG) plant to be built in the German federal state of Lower Saxony, which will be capable of converting up to 100MW of electrical power into gas. ELEMENT ONE is in the planning phase, but the project partners are confident that the results of the project will provide crucial information on electricity and gas grid integration, the development of operator models and the regulatory environment. With their approach, they aim to accelerate the urgently needed transfer of technology and innovation from research to practice in the field of sector coupling and hydrogen technology.

Key technologies of energy supply
50Hertz is involved as associated partner in two winning PtG projects: “GreenHydroChem Mitteldeutsches Chemiedreieck“ in Saxony-Anhalt, and “Reflau – Referenzkraftwerk Lausitz“ in Brandenburg. These two projects also focus on sector coupling and hydrogen technology. The partners for GreenHydroChem are Siemens, Linde, and the Fraunhofer Institute for Microstructure of Materials and Systems (IMWS). With a 50MW electrolyser, regeneratively generated electricity is first to be converted into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen is then converted in refineries into base chemicals and methanol, which can be blended with conventional fuels for the use in the transport sector. With Reflau, the partners want to combine and test in practice key technologies of energy supply with renewable energies and hydrogen as a chemical storage.

Dr. Dirk Biermann, Chief Markets & System Operations Officer at 50Hertz, welcomes the support for innovative technologies: “With our involvement in the laboratories, we are specifically promoting the development of Power-to-X technologies for the energy market. Because if things get serious in a few years’ time, we will need proven and grid-compatible experience with this new technology.”

50Hertz and TenneT are among the winners of the German “Reallabore der Energiewende” competition for the promotion of innovative energy technologies (picture: Fraunhofer IMWS / Sven Döring)

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

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