Germany’s first hybrid Statcom facility in operation

27.01.2020

Since January 24, Germany’s first hybrid static synchronous compensator (Statcom) system is connected to the power grid. For about two years, TSCNET shareholder TenneT, the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO), has been modernising its long-established substation in Borken, in the German state of Hesse, practically at the centre of the German transmission system. The heart of the conversion work was the installation of the Statcom system. Due to the limited space available at the site, TenneT decided to build the Statcom system in hybrid construction, thus reducing the additional space requirement to less than one hectare.

With the high-performance technology in operation, TenneT uses the historic substation in Borken, which boasts a tradition of almost a hundred years, for a task that will contribute significantly to the success of the energy transition: the provision of dynamic voltage support and reactive power to compensate for the decreasing capacities previously provided by large power plants that are being successively shut down. The TSO invested around €30m in the Borken substation, that now has become one of the most modern hubs for green power in the German grid.

Last Friday, Axel Schomberg, Head of TenneT Grid Operations, together with high representatives of local politics, officially commissioned the Statcom system, underlining the significance of the facility for the energy transition. In combination with the numerous other reactive power compensation systems operated in the 129 German TenneT substations, including compensation coils, MSCDN systems and the first rotating phase shifter in the German power grid at the time of installation, the Statcom system contributes to the static reactive power supply.

TenneT has commissioned Germany’s first hybrid Statcom system (picture: TenneT)

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> See TenneT press release, in German (html)

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APG investigates Flex-Hub concept

24.01.2020

In times of increasing shares of volatile renewable energies, flexibility is an important factor for European transmission system operators (TSOs). For this reason, TSCNET shareholder APG plans to introduce a Flex-Hub, which will enable small, decentralised flexibility resources to participate in the power frequency control of the national electricity grid. Together with the Energy Web Foundation (EWF), a global non-profit foundation to promote block chain technology in the energy sector, the Austrian TSO is conducting a feasibility study for the concept being developed by APG.

This proof of concept is intended to provide a solution for the technical implementation of the Flex-Hub using the open-source software application “Energy Web Decentralised Operating System” (EW-DOS), which includes the blockchain platform of Energy Web. The final objective of the hub concept is to efficiently integrate plant qualification, plant registration, bid management and billing functions of decentralised flexibility providers so that the additional flexibility can be made available for future challenges in power grid operation.

APG is conducting a proof of concept for its Flex-Hub model (picture: APG)

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> See APG press release, in German (html)

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HOPS commissions variable shunt reactor

22.01.2020

A further step for the successful implementation of the Croatian-Slovenian smartgrid project SINCRO.GRID has been taken. The European Project of Common Interest (PCI) aims at optimising the efficiency of the Croatian and Slovenian electricity transmission grids through the application of advanced technologies and innovative data processing methods and is carried out by the two TSCNET shareholders ELES, the Slovenian transmission system operator (TSO), and HOPS from Croatia.

At the beginning of December 2019, the ELES substation in Divača has been equipped with a variable shunt reactor, an effective compensation tool for reactive power control. Now HOPS has put the same technically advanced system into operation at its substation in Mraclin near Zagreb. With this, HOPS has concluded the first stage of SINCRO.GRID. After the implementation of additional measures and devices, including a static VAR compensator, the Croatian TSO will be able to actively manage the reactive power flows in the Croatian power grid. This will solve problems of overloads in the long term and thus have a positive effect on grid stability and security of supply for customers.

HOPS has commissioned a variable shunt reactor as part of the SINCRO.GRID project (picture: HOPS)

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> See HOPS press release, in Croatian (html)
> Visit SINCRO.GRID website (html)

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TransnetBW promotes weather-dependent line operation

20.01.2020

The energy transition requires the transport of increased amounts of electricity and thus more efficient grid usage. TransnetBW, the transmission system operator (TSO) from the southwest of Germany, intends to take greater account of the fact that overhead lines have different maximum loads depending on the weather conditions. On a cool, windy day, for instance, considerably more electricity can be transported than on a hot, windless day. To make optimum use of this effect, the TSCNET shareholder is currently implementing a system that provides the necessary detailed information about the specific line capacity for improved network management.

The project, which the TSO is carrying out together with Energy & Meteo Systems GmbH, a provider of power predictions and virtual power plants, is called “Witterungsabhängiger Freileitungsbetrieb 3.0” (weather-dependent overhead line operation 3.0 – WAFB 3.0). Together, significant locations for the real-time monitoring of overhead lines in the TransnetBW control area were defined and weather stations and sensors are now being installed at 250 pylons and 48 substations to detect the weather-dependent transmission capacity of the respective lines. This will give TransnetBW much more accurate data on the utilisation of the grid to better avoid bottlenecks.

Alexander Hofmann, WAFB 3.0 project manager at TransnetBW, explains the approach: “Up to now, we have only considered the temperature at regional level for our grid operation. With WAFB 3.0, we record not only the temperature but also the wind on a small scale, which opens up much more options for our daily grid operation. Initially, the system helps us to check the forecast values used and to adjust them if necessary. From 2023 on, it will determine for each line individually and in real time which transmission capacities will be available when required.”

TransnetBW collects and utilises data on the weather-dependent transmission capacity of overhead lines (picture: analogicus)

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> See TransnetBW press release, in German (html)

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New EU Electricity Regulation in place

17.01.2020

With the beginning of 2020, the recast of the European Electricity Regulation on the internal market for electricity (EU/2019/943) came into force. The regulation is important for the new electricity market design, which was adopted as part of the “Clean Energy for All Europeans Package” and aims at realising the European Energy Union with common market rules and an efficient and high-performing cross-border infrastructure.

The regulation sets out the basic principles for an efficient electricity market and should allow for improved integration of national markets. It should also create greater capacity for cross-border trade, thereby providing better access to renewable energy. As far as the business of transmission system operators (TSOs) is concerned, rules for better coordination and closer transnational cooperation are the core of the regulatory framework. Furthermore, the functions and tasks of the regional service coordinators (RSCs) are clearly specified.

Already on 10 January the four German transmission system operators (TSOs) 50Hertz, Amprion, TenneT and TransnetBW had submitted their draft scenario framework for the 2035 (2021) Network Development Plan (NEP) to the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA). With this, they want to “contribute to the success of the energy turnaround and the achievement of the climate protection goals”.

The revised European Electricity Regulation on the internal market for electricity entered into force on 1 January 2020 (picture: European Commission / Etienne Ansotte)

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> See press release of the European Commission (html)
> See Netzentwicklungsplan webpage, in German (html)
> Visit EUR-Lex site (html) for the full text of the Regulation in various languages and formats.

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Study on German-Polish TSO cooperation

16.01.2020

The two transmission system operators (TSOs) and TSCNET shareholders 50Hertz from Germany and PSE from Poland jointly conducted the “German-Polish Study on cooperation between TSOs PSE and 50Hertz in long-term and mid-term perspectives”, which now has been finalised. The study was supported by the respective national Ministries responsible for energy.

As its title suggests, the study is divided into an investigation of medium-term and long-term cooperation objectives. The mid-term part aims at improving the coordination of the operational planning processes. The following issues, among others, have been identified as important: improving the quality of forecasting of power flows at the German-Polish border and the coordinated use of cross-border remedial measures such as phase-shifting transformers as well as bilateral and multilateral redispatch. To better predict cross-border flows, PSE and 50 Hertz agreed to support the development of a flow-based methodology, and as far as the remedial measures are concerned, advanced software solutions are required. However, not only the development of an IT tool is needed here, but also advanced coordination and cost sharing in a region-wide mechanism.

For the long-term study, a modelling process carried out by the National Centre for Nuclear Research in Warsaw was used, which was consulted and monitored by experts from both TSOs. Using alternative scenarios, different time frames and market simulations, the main trends in German-Polish electricity exchange as well as future challenges for regional markets and networks were identified, such as interconnector capacities, growth of energy demands or deviating energy prices.

50Hertz and PSE have conducted a joint study on German-Polish TSO cooperation (picture: Andreas Vogel / CC BY-SA 4.0)

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> See PSE press release (html)
> See 50Hertz webpage on the study, in German (html)
> Open Executive summary (pdf, 538.47kB)

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European wind energy record shares in 2019

14.01.2020

Not much time has passed in the new year, but the German-based International Economic Forum for Renewable Energies (Internationales Wirtschaftsforum Regenerative Energien/IWR) has already evaluated the electricity data for 2019 provided by the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) on behalf of the member transmission system operators (TSOs). According to the IWR, the total share of all renewable energies in the energy mix has continued to rise. Wind and solar power generation reached new all-time highs (almost 510TWh), while electricity production from hydropower remained comparatively low due to the long dry phase in 2019.

In the EU, wind energy was the most important regenerative energy source in 2019 with around 392TWh (2018: 349TWh). The statistical analysis of the IWR coincides with the figures which the Dutch-German TSO TenneT has just published for the feed-in of electricity from German North Sea wind farms. The TSCNET shareholder in 2019 has increased the offshore wind energy connection capacity of its twelve German offshore grid connection systems currently in operation to 7,132MW. For one thing, this means that the “wind harvest” record figures exceed the previous year by around 21%. Secondly, the TSO has already now achieved and even significantly exceeded the German federal government’s targets for the sustainable expansion of offshore wind energy. The government’s target for the North Sea and Baltic Sea together by 2020 is 6.5GW in total.

Expressed in absolute figures, the wind energy transmitted by TenneT from the North Sea reached a new record of 20.21TWh in 2019 (16.75TWh in 2018). TenneT managing director Tim Meyerjürgens comments on the progress: “We are pleased that we have already achieved the goal set by the federal government ahead of schedule and with the three other offshore grid connections currently being implemented, we will be capable of delivering 10,000MW of transmission capacity from the North Sea in 2025 in Germany alone.”

European figures for wind energy in 2019 are at a record high, as is the German offshore grid connection capacity of TenneT

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

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TenneT participates in Ocean Renewable Energy Action Coalition

13.01.2020

The Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO) TenneT is continuously increasing the amount of sea-generated wind energy transmitted ashore. The TSCNET shareholder is also the initiator of the pioneering North Sea Wind Power Hub concept that combines generation, storage and transmission of wind energy with a multinational interconnection of North Sea riparian states. Now TenneT is also participating in the just founded international Ocean Renewable Energy Action Coalition to promote the sustainable use of marine renewable energy and reduce the harmful effects of climate change.

Not only wind power but also floating solar, tidal and wave power count among the maritime renewable energy potentials. According to a report by the High-Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy, together they could provide almost 10% of the annual greenhouse gas emission reductions needed by 2050 to keep global temperatures below 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. However, offshore wind energy is likely to make up the largest part of this climate protection potential.

The Action Coalition was established in response to the High-Level Panel’s September 2019 call for ocean-related climate protection activities and brings together civil society, intergovernmental institutions and industry. It will represent the offshore wind sector in the global dialogue on climate change and be led by the Scandinavian power companies Ørsted and Equinor. The total of eleven partners will develop a vision for 2050, highlighting the actions to be taken to sustainably expand offshore wind energy, thereby contributing to the UN’s sustainable development goals and global decarbonisation targets. First results will be announced at the UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon in June 2020.

TenneT is part of the Ocean Renewable Energy Action Coalition to promote the sustainable use of renewable marine energy (picture: TenneT)

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TERRE platform launched

07.01.2020

The project “Trans European Replacement Reserves Exchange” (TERRE) is dedicated to implementing the exchange of replacement reserves (RRs) under the EU guideline on electricity balancing. The objective of TERRE is to establish the European RR balancing energy market via an RR platform and to create uniform conditions for market participants. TERRE has been confirmed by the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) as the European platform for the exchange of balancing energy from RRs and is closely monitored by national regulatory authorities and the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER).

TERRE involves eight European transmission system operators (TSOs). The three TSCNET shareholders ČEPS from the Czech Republic, PSE from Poland and Swissgrid from Switzerland are complemented by RTE (France), National Grid (United Kingdom), Terna (Italy), REN (Portugal) and Red Eléctrica de Espaňa (Spain). A further six TSOs with observer status include the TSCNET shareholders MAVIR from Hungary and Transelectrica from Romania.

The TERRE platform was launched on 6 January 2020. The platform ensures cost-effective balancing energy with service availability within 30 minutes in a European setting. ČEPS was the first TSO to connect to the platform, and is currently also the only one. Further members will follow. “The launch of TERRE represents the completion of several years of effort, from defining business rules to developing an IT solution to testing the system with market participants in Europe,” explains Zbyněk Boldiš, Member of ČEPS’ Board of Directors.

The TERRE platform for the balancing of replacement energy reserves has been successfully launched (picture showing Zbyněk Boldiš, Member of ČEPS’ Board of Directors)

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> See ČEPS press release (html)
> Visit ENTSO-E’s TERRE website (html)

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New RSC to be established in Thessaloniki

23.12.2019

As reported by the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E), significant progress is being made on pan-European coverage with regional security coordinators (RSCs). The transmission system operators (TSOs) of the South-East Europe and Greece-Italy Capacity Calculation Regions (CCRs), namely ESO-EAD (Bulgaria), IPTO (Greece), Terna (Italy) and TSCNET shareholder Transelectrica, the TSO from Romania, have agreed to establish a new RSC in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki.

The new company will provide all regional RSC services for both CCRs according to the requirements of the EU guideline on capacity allocation and congestion management (CACM). In line with the experience gained in other CCRs, the RSC in Thessaloniki will promote regional TSO cooperation and strengthen system and market operations. The further development of the plans will be reported in the course of 2020.

The TSOs from the South-East Europe and Greece-Italy CCRs will establish an RSC in Thessaloniki (picture showing Thessaloniki, Greece)

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> See ENTSO-E press release, html

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