525kV technology for Germany’s “power highways”

04.12.2019

SuedLink, SuedOstLink and A-Nord are large-scale DC connection projects that are essential for Germany’s low-carbon energy future, since these so-called “Stromautobahnen” (power highways) will transport green electricity generated in the north and east of the country to the consumption centres in the south and west. The three power lines will be implemented predominantly via underground cabling and are collaborative efforts of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs). TenneT and TransnetBW cooperate on SuedLink, 50Hertz and TenneT join forces on SuedOstLink and A-Nord is carried out by Amprion. Together with Ultranet, a joint project with TransnetBW, A-Nord forms the Korridor A.

The four TSCNET shareholders intend to install innovative plastic-insulated DC cables with a voltage level of 525kV in these projects. So far, 320kV cables have been used for comparable DC connections in Germany. As a matter of fact, it will be the first use of 525kV underground cables worldwide, which underlines the pilot character of the three high-performance connections. The decision by the TSOs was preceded by an extensive test phase on the technical suitability of the 525kV cables. The pre-qualification tests according to international standards of the Council on Large Electric Systems (CIGRE) were successful and proved that the 525kV cables are reliable and safe.

A higher voltage level of the cables translates into more transmission capacity. This has two possible effects for the planned DC lines, assuming technical feasibility for the entire system: On the one hand, more electricity can be transmitted in a certain corridor with the same number of cables. On the other hand, fewer cables are required to transmit the same power compared to 320kV cable systems. This allows the routing to be designed narrower, which reduces excavation work and environmental impact.

The four German TSOs opt for innovative 525kV solution for power highways with underground cabling (picture: TenneT)

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

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Enterprise Architecture from Colombian Caribbean

04.12.2019

Miguel Ospina, the new Enterprise Architect in our Service Development Business Unit, is originally from Barranquilla, Colombia. You don’t know that place? Maybe you do: The famous singer Shakira sang about her birthplace in her worldwide No. 1 hit “Hips don’t lie” and in the work of the Nobel Prize winner Gabriel García Márquez, who spent part of his childhood and many years as a journalist in this city of millions in the northwest of the country, there are many descriptions of the lively commercial and industrial city, which is also known as one of the world’s largest carnival strongholds.

But back to Miguel! The 32-year-old has a bachelor’s degree in Systems Engineering and a postgraduate degree in Enterprise Software Architecture. He then received the TOGAF certification (The Open Group Architecture Framework) and earned his master’s degree in Business Information Technology in 2018. As an Enterprise Architect at TSCNET Services, he strives to bring best practices for this discipline to life across the enterprise.

He has the experience to do this: Previously, Miguel worked as a Software Architect for an insurance related company and defined the roadmap and architecture of various relevant products such as underwriting and claims systems. Most recently, he worked for an airline as an Enterprise Architect leader and was responsible for business areas such as customer experience, marketing, and e-commerce. This also involved shaping the roadmap and governance for these areas, such as information systems and technology, and important future projects, such as digital transformation and e-commerce.

Miguel, a travel enthusiast, appreciates the fact that he is familiar with various industries and can now apply this experience to the energy sector and help shape TSCNET’s future architecture. We wish him all the best for his career with us and look forward to his work – fortunately, it does not have to be another world hit or a Nobel Prize in the end.

Miguel Ospina is the new Enterprise Architect in our Service Development Business Unit

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Variable shunt reactor for SINCRO.GRID

03.12.2019

The two transmission system operators (TSOs) and TSCNET shareholders ELES from Slovenia and HOPS from Croatia are cooperating in SINCRO.GRID. This cross-border smart grid initiative is coordinated by ELES and comprises in addition to the TSOs also two distribution system operators (DSOs) from both countries. The objective of the European Project of Common Interest (PCI) is to optimise the efficiency of the respective national transmission systems by means of advanced technologies and innovative data processing methods.

Since the substantial allocation of EU funding to SINCRO.GRID under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) programme in 2017, the project has made significant progress. A vital component of SINCRO.GRID is optimising and installing compensation devices for reactive power control, e.g. variable shunt reactors, which are used in high-voltage transmission systems for voltage stabilisation during load variations. Now the ELES substation in Divača in south-eastern Slovenia has been equipped with such a technically advanced device manufactured by Siemens in Austria. The assembly work is in full swing and is expected to be completed by 12 December. Preparatory work for commissioning will then commence immediately.

Another major component of SINCRO.GRID is a dynamic thermal rating system for power grid operating limits. The aim is to evaluate marginal capacities of transmission system components considering weather influences and thus to improve operational safety and utilisation of overhead lines and transformers. In addition to hard- and software in control centres, atmospheric measuring devices, which are installed directly at the pylons, are also part of the system. Corresponding tests of innovative weather stations are underway. Last week, the substructure for the weather station on the Kleče-Divača overhead line was field tested.

SINCRO.GRID advances technical innovations (picture: ELES)

Linkup
> See ELES press release (html)
> Visit SINCRO.GRID website (html)

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New 50Hertz CEO takes up duties

03.12.2019

On 1 December, Stefan Kapferer took office as the new chairman of the executive board of TSCNET shareholder 50Hertz, one of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs). Until the end of October 2019, Kapferer headed the German Energy and Water Association (Bundesverband der Energie- und Wasserwirtschaft – BDEW). Kapferer succeeds interim CEO Dr. Frank Golletz, CTO of 50Hertz, who took over the additional duties after former CEO Boris Schucht had left the company in March 2019.

At a purpose-arranged press conference on 3 December in the German capital Berlin, Stefan Kapferer acknowledged the appeal and diversity of his new task. “The next phase of the realisation of the energy transition is an even greater challenge in terms of entrepreneurship and the European side of things. TSOs play an essential role here,” explained Kapferer. The main issues to be dealt with by 50Hertz are the German coal phase-out, following the current nuclear phase-out, the national legislative climate specifications and the grid extension which is essential for all these measures. For a Baltic Sea riparian TSO, it is particularly important to set the right course for the development of offshore wind energy.

Chris Peeters, head of the 50Hertz supervisory board, highlighted Kapferer’s wealth of political and international experience as former German State Secretary and Deputy Secretary General of the OECD and concluded: “I am convinced that Kapferer’s skills combined with the technical know-how of our staff will result in a great future for 50Hertz. Together we work for our goal: a successful energy transition.”

Stefan Kapferer is in office as new CEO of 50Hertz (picture: 50Hertz / Jan Pauls)

Linkup
> See 50Hertz press release (html)

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Swift progress for new 50Hertz overhead line

29.11.2019

This May, TSCNET shareholder 50Hertz, one of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs), started the construction of the first section of the 380kV Perleberg-Wolmirstedt overhead line. The new line will connect the Perleberg substation in Brandenburg with the Wolmirstedt substation in Saxony-Anhalt over a distance of 106km and replace the existing 220kV line from the 1950s. This grid extension is intended to ensure that the increasing quantities of regionally generated electricity from renewable sources are also available to consumers in southern and western Germany.

The first construction phase with 87 pylons and a length of 37km stretches between the substations Stendal West and Wolmirstedt. Construction work is progressing rapidly. More than half of the pylons have now been erected and some masts have already been fitted with power cables. Construction should be completed by mid-March next year.

50Hertz has already erected 48 pylons of the Perleberg-Wolmirstedt overhead line (picture of the substation Wolmirstedt: Otto-von-Guericke-Universität Magdeburg)

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

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Winter outlook: RSC monitoring for supply security

28.11.2019

Every year at the end of November, the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) publishes its supply security forecast for the coming winter season. Like its predecessors, Winter Outlook 2019/2020 is a concise document that provides valuable information on where bottlenecks are most likely to occur, or which are the main risks to the security of the pan-European electrical transmission system. The Outlook forecasts have been carefully calculated on the basis of a comprehensive database to provide a reliable risk assessment for the next European electricity winter.

The main positive message is that general European security of supply is ensured under normal conditions. Nevertheless, the Outlook indicates that in the event of cold spells, i.e. temperatures 10 degrees below average, combined with unforeseen outages and low renewable generation, there are potential risks in Belgium and France in January 2020. Under these extreme conditions, both countries would be heavily dependent on imports and in some cases on available out-of-market measures. Furthermore, close monitoring would be required, and ENTSO-E explicitly requests in such cases the support of regional security coordinators (RSCs), such as the Munich-based TSCNET Services.

As usual, ENTSO-E presents the Winter Outlook together with the Summer Review 2019, an overview of last summer’s events. Some heat waves were registered, but without any impact on the power supply.

ENTSO-E has released the Winter Outlook 2019/2020 (picture: TenneT)

Linkup
> See ENTSO-E press release (html)
> Visit ENTSO-E seasonal outlook site (html)
> Open Winter Outlook 2019/2020 (pdf, 7.14MB)

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Honourable move to the Swiss customer

25.11.2019

While around 150,000 people with Portuguese citizenship live in Germany, almost twice as many live in the much smaller country of Switzerland. Usually we do not have the slightest problem with this at TSCNET Services in Munich, but now another Portuguese is moving to Switzerland, whom we will miss very much here as a first-class employee and great co-worker: Mário Martins, Senior Business Analyst in our Service Development Business Unit. He will join our client and shareholder Swissgrid and work in Aarau 38 km west of Zurich as a specialist for Capacity & Congestion Management. Chances are good that he will be collaborating with his former colleagues from TSCNET there, so “it’s not a goodbye, but a see you later,” Mário assures with a smile.

“I thank TSCNET and its employees for almost 5 wonderful years in this company,” Mário continues. “It is a great organisation to work in, and I am sure it will remain on its growth path and will become increasingly important as a pillar of European power transmission. And I personally feel nothing but honoured to have made a small contribution to this.”

He goes with a lot of good memories in his luggage. “I particularly liked the international, young, lively atmosphere in the company. The fact that most employees come from abroad and are far away from their families and friends also brings the team together outside office hours and leads to close friendships.”

He also appreciated management’s commitment to employee well-being and opportunities for personal development. He always felt that his voice was heard and respected and that his work was valued. Comradeship has always been a top priority and colleagues have always supported him when necessary. “I want to tell them that it was a great pleasure to work with them,” he says. He should know by now at the latest: The people here feel the same way. Despite all the melancholy about Mário’s departure, everyone wishes him all the best and much success with Swissgrid. It is good for everyone that Zurich is only 3 hours away from Munich.

TSCNET Services is saying goodbye to Mário Martins, who joins the Swissgrid

Linkup
> Visit Swissgrid webpage (html)

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ENTSO-E’s MAF 2019 is out now

23.11.2019

The European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) has released the new 2019 edition of the Midterm Adequacy Forecast (MAF). In this context, “adequacy” refers to the balance between electricity generation and demand and the forecast is based on a comprehensive mathematical analysis of future pan-European supply security over the period up to 2021 and 2025. The MAF examines not only the interdependencies of supply and demand, but also of storage, climatic conditions, and interconnection capacity. This year, the data granularity and quality were further improved, in particular, with information on thermal generation, an improved hydrological database and a new calculation methodology for demand time series.

The results of MAF 2019 show a low risk for adequacy. However, the MAF also underlines the increasingly important role of cross-border cooperation between transmission system operators (TSOs) in promoting adequacy throughout the interconnected pan-European electricity system. As in the previous issue, MAF 2019 includes a low carbon scenario that considers the impact of the decommissioning of coal-fired plants by 2025. Here the results for some market areas directly or indirectly affected show increased risks. Sources of flexibility such as demand side patterns, storage, interconnections and enhanced and smarter integration of renewable and distributed energy sources are thus required.

The MAF is part of the broader 10-year Network Development Plan (TYNDP), which assesses system needs up to 2040. The results of MAF 2019 will be open to public consultation until 13 January 2020. In addition, ENTSO-E will organise a public webinar on 4 December to discuss the MAF results.

ENTSO-E has released the MAF 2019 (picture: ENTSO-E)

Linkup
> See ENTSO-E press release (html)
> Visit MAF 2019 website with access to appendices and data sets (html)
> Open executive summary of MAF 2019 (pdf, 1.29MB)
> Access to public consultation (html)
> Register for the webinar (html)

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Reaching the goal quickly with calculated risk

22.11.2019

Anyone who knows the Munich premises of TSCNET Services has probably also seen the photo wall with private photos of almost all employees. When the answer to the question “Do you have a photo for our wall, too?” is “Yes, but only one with me hanging head over feet out of a helicopter in the clouds”, you might think of a joke, but with him it’s none: Péter Szőcs, the new Data Center Support Specialist at TSCNET, not only has special professional skills, but also quite special hobbies. A native of Romania with Hungarian and German roots, he likes it fast and used to be an extremely successful professional motorcycle racer competing against the world’s best. Today he rather wants to go high and enjoy free fall as a skydiver. Here, too, he has an impressive international network and is well known on the scene.

For him, his personal and professional motivation is described by the fact that if he stands two and a half miles above the ground in an open aircraft door and can take a step into the empty space himself, then he could do anything. How can this be understood? Well, there is a saying circulating in the skydiving community that hints at the special magic of this sport: “For those who jump, no explanation is necessary. For those who do not jump, no explanation is possible.”

High speed and an experienced handling of risks also benefit Péter at work. In addition to studying history and journalism, he holds a bachelor’s degree in mechatronics and computer science. He has worked as a senior IT technical consultant on unified communication and contact centre solutions, e.g. for BMW, and as the Head of IT/Networking of the Transylvania International Film Festival.

Today he sees himself as a motivated and versatile professional with many years of IT experience, who is always looking forward undertaking new and exciting challenges. Together with his colleagues from the IT Infrastructure Services team, he wants to integrate and implement solutions that help TSCNET employees become more efficient in their business operation to increase productivity. “I want to be an active part of something that has an impact beyond our lives, where the focus is outward and the mission is more than the bottom line,” explains Péter. If this happens at a proverbial breakneck speed and helps the company climb dizzying heights, the co-workers will be the last to object!

TSCNET Services welcomes Péter Szőcs

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Kick-off for new Weinviertel Line

19.11.2019

The Weinviertel Line (“Weinviertelleitung”) in Lower Austria is in operation for more than 70 years. An elementary component of the grid of TSCNET shareholder APG, the Austrian transmission system operator (TSO), the 220kV line is now in considerable need of rehabilitation. Apart from that, the routing of the existing line does not meet the requirements of the future energy system characterised by decentralised generation of the renewables. The Weinviertel Line reconstruction is therefore essential for the implementation of the Austrian energy and climate strategy “#mission2030”, which sets the national goal of covering 100% of electricity consumption with renewable energies by 2030.

The new 380kV Weinviertel Line will run from Seyring near Vienna to the substation in Neusiedl an der Zaya in the north-eastern Weinviertel. Here in Neusiedl, the ground-breaking ceremony for the new construction has now taken place. To the benefit of the environment and local residents, the new Weinviertel line requires 53 pylons less than the old one. “This is because we can dismantle the first eleven kilometres of the old line without replacement, as we will connect the new line with an existing line and feed it in there,” explained Gerhard Christiner and Thomas Karall, CTO and CFO of APG respectively. The investment costs for the new line amount to 200m euros.

Christiane Teschl-Hofmeister, a member of the Lower Austrian state government who attended the ceremony, commented: “With the new APG Weinviertel Line, Lower Austria will have an efficient and future-oriented grid connection for renewable energies from the region. The APG Weinviertel Line thus makes an important contribution to the Lower Austrian Climate and Energy Roadmap 2030.”

APG has started construction of the new Weinviertel Line (picture: APG; from left to right: Franz Mittermayer from Austrian energy company EVN, Thomas Karall, Christiane Teschl-Hofmeister and Gerhard Christiner)

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

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