Ernen-Ulrichen 380kV line in operation

21.10.2019

With the erection of the last of a total of 57 pylons, the new extra-high voltage line between the Ernen and Ulrichen substations in the Swiss canton of Valais has now been completed. The 30-kilometre section is part of the 380kV Mörel-Ulrichen line project of TSCNET shareholder Swissgrid, the Swiss transmission system operator (TSO). The line upgrade in the Rhône Valley is vital for the future of Switzerland’s energy supply: In order to fully transfer the hydropower generated in the Valais to the urban areas of Switzerland, the lines of the south-western canton must be connected to the supra-regional 380kV transmission grid, particularly in view of the commissioning of the new Nant de Drance pumped storage power station, scheduled for 2020.

The existing 220kV overhead line between Ernen and Ulrichen is already disconnected. Its 177 pylons will be dismantled from spring 2020 and the former pylon locations will be recultivated. Swissgrid is additionally carrying out nature conservation projects of national importance in the vicinity of the new line. Also starting next year, the Swiss TSO will continue its Valais upgrade project with the new construction of the next section between Ernen and Mörel-Filet, which is expected to be commissioned as 380kV line by the end of 2022.

Swissgrid has commissioned the new 380kV line between Ernen-Ulrichen (picture: Swissgrid)

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> See Swissgrid news release, in German (html)

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TenneT expands German headquarters

18.10.2019

The Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO) TenneT conducts its German business from Bayreuth. Here, in the capital of the Bavarian administrative district of Upper Franconia, TenneT moved into its new corporate headquarters in 2018 and is now investing a further €20m in a new office building with space for around 220 new employees. Construction began on 17 October 2019 with the symbolic ground-breaking ceremony attended by representatives from regional and national politics, associations, partner institutions and employees.

With the increasing challenges arising for TenneT from the energy transition, the number of its employees is also growing proportionally. Their number has risen significantly in recent years, and this growth will continue. In 2016, around 800 people were employed in Bayreuth, today it is almost 1,200. After the completion of the new building planned for 2021, the TSCNET shareholder will employ more than 1,400 people on the so-called TenneT campus.

“This is a strong signal for the enormous growth of TenneT and a clear commitment to the location in Bayreuth,” explains TenneT CFO Otto Jager. “From here, we will advance the energy transition with grid extension and innovation projects for a secure electricity supply.”

TenneT celebrates the construction start of a new office building on the Tennet Campus in Bayreuth (picture: TenneT; from left to right: Thomas Löw, CTO of the construction company Markgraf, Bayreuth’s Lord Mayor Brigitte Merk-Erbe, TenneT CFO Otto Jager and architect Johannes Jung)

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> See TenneT press release, in German (html)

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A polyglot engineer eager for change

17.10.2019

“IT infrastructure is the beating heart of the organisation,” says Michael Klazema, an American expert on digital consulting and technological innovation. So, the fact that our IT Infrastructure Services division has picked up speed over the past few weeks is fitting. With the newly hired Jeffrey Morales, there is now also an IT Service Manager at TSCNET Services. The 33-year-old comes originally from Manila, capital of the Philippines, which has also been called “The Pearl of the Orient Sea” since the middle of the 18th century.

In Manila, Jeffrey completed a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines. After nine years, he began his Master of Science studies in Management at the Technical University of Munich (TUM, Technical University Munich), which he almost completed in the meantime – mostly alongside his full-time job. Jeffrey has 12 years of professional experience, that involves moving across the world from Manila to Singapore to New York to Frankfurt and now to Munich. He started his career in Manila right after university. After three years at HP & SunPower Philippines, the Swiss bank UBS hired him as an expat and brought him to Singapore. Later he joined Singapore Telecommunications (Singtel) and spent considerable amount of time in New York for business development projects with lots of flights between the American East Coast and the coast of Malaysia.

“Challenging the status quo” finally led our new co-worker to Germany. Here he worked for the Bavarian government and learnt German in a hurry – from the problem that hardly any of his fellow workers spoke English well enough, he made an advantage. “Learning the local language is a sign of respect,” says Jeffrey. And it greatly facilitates integration in the new home country. Now the fervent blogger studied and speaks five other languages in addition to German and Filipino as his mother tongue: English, Japanese, Korean, Spanish and a little French. No wonder good friends call him a “polyglot engineer”.

Helpful around the globe
The travel enthusiast has already visited 45 countries – in just nine years. In 2015, he completely circumnavigated the world – from the Maldives via Singapore and the Philippines to China, then via Alaska and through the USA via Great Britain and continental Europe to Georgia and finally via South Korea back to the Philippines. Travelling educates and helps to reflect. “The more I see different people from different walks of life of different cultures, the more I see myself as just a speck of life, it humbles you,” Jeffrey describes it. “And the less importance you give to troubles and stress.”

As IT Service Manager at TSCNET, Jeffrey wants to help the company exploit its potential, especially for its customers. He wants to create changes: With a personal touch, he wants to get involved and help make the processes more efficient – he never wants to be the “loudest voice in the room”, but always “one of the most effective”.

Jeffrey also wants to change things for the better outside of his work – which is why he has often volunteered for organisations that are committed to improving the lives of people in need. “We only have one life to live, so it’s better to use it wisely,” he says. “Filipinos are known for their helpfulness and for caring for their fellow human beings,” writes the magazine “Inquirer” – our new arrival seems to be a prime example of this.

33-year-old Jeffrey Morales joined TSCNET Services as IT Service Manager

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Randstad 380kV North Ring in operation

14.10.2019

The four largest Dutch cities (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht) and their surroundings constitute the Randstad region in the Netherlands. With a population of more than 8 million people, it is Europe’s most densely populated area. Randstad has a high energy demand, which needs to be reliably met and secured also in the future. However, infrastructure construction measures are particularly challenging in such a conurbation. TSCNET shareholder TenneT, the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO), has now made an elementary contribution to security of supply of the Randstad.

After a construction period of five years, the 60-kilometer-long Randstad 380kV North Ring power line was put into operation on 10 October. More than 1000 people from the region, 300 landowners, over 25 responsible authorities, 13 contractors and 200 TenneT employees were involved in its construction. The new high-voltage line will reliably supply millions of households and companies with electricity. It will also provide the transmission capacity required for green electricity from North Sea wind farms. As a complementary measure, the existing 150kV connections in the region were adapted and two new high-voltage substations have been built in Beverwijk and Vijfhuizen.

At 151 locations along the route, Tennet installed innovative Wintrack pylons that consume less space, reduce magnetic field zones and, due to their slim and streamlined shape, fit much better into their surroundings than conventional steel lattice pylons. Ten kilometres of the North Ring have been laid underground. The aluminium cables used by TenneT are a novelty. They are cheaper than conventional materials and conduct electricity more efficiently, which means that their carbon footprint is smaller.

TenneT has commissioned the Randstad 380kV North Ring (picture of the opening ceremony with TenneT CEO Manon van Beek and COO Ben Voorhorst: TenneT)

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€215m for green connection capacity

11.10.2019

The Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO) TenneT plans to invest a further €215m to connect two GW of green electricity from solar and wind farms in the north of the Netherlands to the grid. The infrastructural measures include the construction of two new 380/110kV high-voltage substations in the provinces of Groningen and Drenthe. In addition, the TSCNET shareholder intends to provide extra capacity at nine existing 110kV substations in the northern Netherlands.

One GW corresponds roughly to the output of 3.5 million solar modules or 200 wind turbines. The additional capacity planned by the TSO is therefore considerable, but according to Ben Voorhorst, COO of the TSO, as many solar and wind farm transmission requests as possible should be complied with. Already now TenneT operates projects in the northern Netherlands with a volume of more than €1bn. This level of investment is now being further increased, with the TSO focusing strongly on the sustainability and efficiency of the investments. “The better the capacity expansions of electricity grids are actually utilised, the better the consumer’s money is spent,” explains Voorhorst.

TenneT invests €215m in the connection of renewable energies in the northern Netherlands (picture: TenneT)

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RSC Conference 2019: Rush to Copenhagen

08.10.2019

The weather turned out typically Nordic with quite stormy wind and some rain, but otherwise host Nordic RSC could be more than happy about a great success and a fruitful gathering of our industry – about 250 participants from all over Europe came to the third “RSC Conference” today in the Danish capital of Copenhagen. The event was staged by Nordic RSC at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, located in the Copenhagen Towers, which also house the offices of the Regional Security Coordinator (RSC) of the power transmission system operators (TSOs) of Denmark (TSCNET shareholder Energinet), Finland (Fingrid), Norway (Statnett), and Sweden (Svenska Kraftnät).

One of the key sentences fell quite early: “Nobody knows the future, but it will be electric!” In the European energy system that is already interconnected and will become even more so in future, coordination of cross-border electricity flows is one of the most crucial tasks for TSOs. To a large extent, this task is performed by Europe’s RSCs, with Coreso (based in Brussels) and TSCNET Services (Munich) as pioneers from 2013 onwards. In 2015, SCC for south eastern Europe followed in Belgrade and in 2016, Baltic RSC as well as Nordic RSC were established.

A good idea becomes a tradition
The RSCs have been holding conferences on system security since 2017, co-organised by the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E). TSCNET hosted the first RSC conference entitled “ElSeC” (Electricity Security Coordination) in Munich and one year later Coreso invited to “Power Coordination Europe” in Brussels.

The motto of “RSC 2019” was “Act locally, coordinate regionally, think European”. The event resulted in a closing speech by the CEO of the Finnish TSO Fingrid, Jukka Ruusunen, discussing how RSCs support efficient markets that in turn support security of supply. This core discussion was complemented by other general panel discussions and also by parallel, partly interactive sessions to cover as many interesting and relevant topics as possible. The topics were, for instance, “The Green Transition: The reason for change and innovation in TSOs”, “Ensuring the right competences in an RSC perspective”, “Critical Grid Situation Communication”, “Regional adequacy forecasting” or “Balancing projects and reserve sizing”. The key speakers came from the industry, EU institutions, markets and civil society.

Thomas Egebo, CEO of TSCNET shareholder Energinet, the Danish TSO, welcomed the participants and illustrated the importance of the regions using the example of the Nordic region. The ENTSO-E strategy paper on “Enhanced TSO coordination for Europe” was presented by Joachim Vanzetta, Director System Control at the German TSO and TSCNET shareholder Amprion and Chair of the ENTSO-E Board. Eryk Kłossowski, CEO of the Polish TSO PSE, and Ben Voorhorst, COO of the Dutch-German TSO TenneT – both are TSCNET shareholders – participated together with colleagues from further TSOs in the general discussion: “TSO regional cooperation and establishment of RCCs – learning from best practices”. This discussion was moderated by Laurent Schmitt, the Secretary-General of ENTSO-E.

Increasingly complex with rapidly rising requirements
Maik Neubauer, one of the two Managing Directors of TSCNET Services, held a presentation on “RSC complexities and future challenges”, focusing on the intricacy of the challenges faced by RSCs in the continuous implementation of services, in RSC collaboration and in the adaptation and integration of requirements from the EU “Clean Energy for all Europeans Package” (CEP).

On the conference website, all speeches and discussions were broadcast via live stream. Soon all presentations will be available for download as well as numerous photos from the event. All good things come in threes, as the saying goes. The third edition of the RSC Conference was indeed great, but we are all the more looking forward to next year.

Around 250 participants attended this year’s RSC Conference on 8 October in Denmark’s capital Copenhagen

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> Visit RSC Conference 2019 webpage, with videos (html)

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Delay for the Bassecourt-Mühleberg line upgrade

07.10.2019

With the decommissioning of the Mühleberg nuclear power plant in the canton of Bern at the end of 2019, part of Switzerland’s energy production in the central Swiss Plateau will cease. In the medium term, this shortage will have to be offset by higher production from Swiss power plants or by energy imports from abroad. This is particularly important in winter, when Switzerland is dependent on additional energy imports.

TSCNET shareholder Swissgrid, the Swiss transmission system operator (TSO), is therefore upgrading the Bassecourt-Mühleberg power line from 220kV to 380kV and equipping the Mühleberg substation with a new 380/220kV transformer to ensure security of supply in the greater Bern area and the entire central region of the Swiss Plateau. The modernisation of the line will require adjustments to 54 of a total of 142 existing pylons and will not affect the landscape. Both upgrade measures are part of the “Strategic Grid 2025”, Swissgrid’s ambitious grid modernisation and expansion plan.

While the installation work for the new transformer in Mühleberg continues, a delay of two years in the voltage increase of the Bassecourt-Mühleberg line is expected due to legal complaints against the line upgrade. In August, the Swiss Federal Office of Energy approved the line upgrade and rejected the objections, which mainly concerned the exposure to magnetic fields and noise or the need to relocate the line or to use underground cables. Various complainants have now appealed against this decision of the Federal Office to the Federal Administrative Court of Switzerland, thus preventing further progress.

The upgrading of the Bassecourt-Mühleberg power line by Swissgrid will be delayed (picture: Swissgrid)

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New hire: Explorer with a technical thirst for discovery

07.10.2019

Christian Paúl Suárez is new in our Service Operations business unit but familiar with electricity market issues. The 26-year-old Ecuadorian, who prefers to be called Paúl by his middle name, is curious to experience the differences between the South American and the European electricity markets. At TSCNET Services, Paúl should find the ideal conditions for this and advance his own career together with his new company. We warmly welcome our new Junior Operations Manager.

In the major Ecuadorian port city of Guayaquil, Paúl visited the Escuela Superior Politécnica del Litoral (ESPOL) and completed his studies as an electrical engineer in power systems. Before he graduated from the Universidad Internacional de la Rioja in Spain with a Master of Business Administration specialised in project management, he worked as “profesional de estudios económicos” (professional in economic assessment) for the Ecuadorian state power company Corporación Nacional de Electricidad, the country’s largest energy corporation with more than 1.2m end customers.

Currently, Paúl is demonstrating his ambitions by attending an online programme for a master’s degree in Renewable Energy and Energy Sustainability from the Universitat de Barcelona in Spain alongside his new job at TSCNET. As Junior Operations Manager it is his declared goal to become familiar with the functioning of the European market and network and to cooperate with the company in the management of the European interconnected energy environment.

Paúl finds not only his new company but also its location in Munich attractive. The world-famous German natural scientist Alexander von Humboldt thought Ecuador was “the most interesting region in the world” because of the “high snow-capped peaks, the active volcanoes, their vegetation and the customs of their inhabitants” – we are curious to see what remarkable things Paúl will discover here in Bavaria. The Oktoberfest, which ended yesterday, might have given some impressions.

TSCNET Services has hired Christian Paúl Suárez from Ecuador as Junior Operations Manager in the Service Operations business unit

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New Nordic System Operation Agreement

04.10.2019

The five Nordic power transmission system operator (TSOs), including the Danish TSCNET shareholder Energinet, have signed a new Nordic System Operation Agreement. This agreement sets out the common operating principles of the Nordic TSOs to ensure that the Nordic interconnected system is operated reliably and efficiently in accordance with national and European regulations.

Against the background of the increasing volatility of electricity generation due to renewable energies and the reduction of balancing power generation, the Operating Agreement will further strengthen Nordic cooperation, harmonise grid operating practices between Nordic countries and within Europe, and ensure the system security of the Nordic electricity system.

The document will also contain several appendices, of which the appendix on reserves has already been concluded. The Nordic TSOs are in the process of finalising further appendices on all relevant operational issues. The new Operation Agreement will successively replace the existing one after the completion of the new appendices.

Energinet and the other four Nordic TSOs have signed a new Nordic System Operation Agreement (picture showing Copenhagen, Denmark)

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> See Energinet press release (html)
> Open Nordic System Operation Agreement (pdf, 894.16kB)

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Data centre support – experienced and young at heart

01.10.2019

Eric Paul, our new Senior Data Centre Support Specialist in the Business Unit Corporate Services & IT Infrastructure Services, has been living in Munich for quite some time, but originally comes from far away, even for the TSCNET standard, where we are used to and proud of our international staff from different continents. With Australian-born Eric on board, we have now closed a gap as regards Oceania. During his assignments in Sydney, London and Munich, Eric has already gained a lot of experience that he now uses to bring the TSCNET data centre and the hosting environments to an enterprise standard in terms of reliability, efficiency and scalability.

41-year-old Eric was born in Sydney, where he attended the University of Western Sydney (now the Western Sydney University) and graduated with a Bachelor of Business in Computing and Information Management. He worked as IT Manager for a manufacturing company in Australia, for two years as a freelance contractor in the London financial sector and as Datacentre Manager for a global sporting goods company in Munich. Now Eric is looking forward to progressing his career at TSCNET Services and helping the company to develop further.

Coming from a very large enterprise, Eric finds it particularly stimulating to work in an environment that feels more like a family than politics. Eric has recognised that TSCNET Services has rapidly evolved from a small to a mid-size company and he is well aware of the challenges and opportunities that come with this. He thus considers being part of TSCNET a great chance to leverage his knowledge and experience in a meaningful way that can make a real difference to the business.

Despite his great experience, Eric has remained young in his very own style and when he considers himself, he finds that part of him never left the 90s. As a matter of fact, Eric is still passionate about techno and goes to raves when he has the opportunity. Since Eric has been living in Munich for a while now, we strongly assume that he does not need any recommendations in this regard. But maybe he’ll take one of his new colleagues to the next rave.

Eric Paul is the new Senior Data Centre Support Specialist in the Business Unit Corporate Services & IT Infrastructure Services

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