“The backbone of cross-border trading” at Euroforum Conference

08.12.2018

Euroforum is a prestigious German promoter of first-class conferences, seminars and meetings and a subsidiary of the Handelsblatt Media Group, which publishes the leading German-language business newspaper. The Euroforum events bring together experts from business, science and politics and create forums for the transfer of knowledge and the exchange of opinions. This year’s Euroforum conference on 6 and 7 December in Düsseldorf, the state capital of North Rhine-Westphalia, was dedicated to the topic of “Intraday trading in the electricity sector – digitisation and automation as growth drivers”.

TSCNET Services as one of the five European Regional Security Coordinators (RSCs) – with fifteen transmission system operators (TSOs) from eleven central and eastern European countries as shareholders – can offer significant contributions on this area, which is why Maik Neubauer, one of the two Managing Directors of the Munich-based company, gladly accepted the invitation of Euroforum to speak at the conference. Mr. Neubauer, who acted in the past also as Board Member of the European Energy Exchange EEX where he already was part of a task force to work on a concept for a pan-European Intraday Trading system, presented the work of the European RSCs to an audience of experts. He stated that the work of the RSCs – largely unnoticed by the general public – is important to ensure a stable transmission network for their TSO shareholders with regional risk analyses. “Without the 24/7 work of the European TSOs and the RSCs to keep the European grid stable there wouldn’t be a sustainable basis for an efficient energy market on the continent,” Neubauer said.

In the conference many discussions had been around the development of the new European Intraday Trading System XBID that helps traders, generators, but also TSOs, to balance out the grids within the day of delivery.

Maik Neubauer presented the transmission grid as backbone of cross-border trading at Euroforum Conference in Düsseldorf, Germany

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> Visit Euroforum Conference website, in German (html)

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Substantial advancements in market integration

07.12.2018

Even two positive news for the integration of the European power market have turned up this week. The first comes from the Cross-Border Intraday (XBID) solution. The aim of XBID is to increase the overall efficiency of cross-border trading and intraday coupling. Both are essential for the future European internal energy market. The parties involved in XBID are pleased to confirm that XBID is operating continuously stable and effectively: Since the go-live in June 2018, more than 6.3m trades have been successfully processed.

So far, XBID delivers continuous trading across Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Sweden. The preparations for the second XBID-go-live-wave in 2019 are in full swing and the countries to participate are Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovenia. Further changes to XBID concern the gate opening hours (GOTs) in accordance with a decision of the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) of April 2018. Revised GOTs apply from 1 January 2019 initially in those capacity calculation regions (CCRs) where the capacity calculation methodology (CCM) has already been approved.

This week also saw the launch of the Single Allocation Platform for long-term capacity allocation at European borders. 28 transmission system operators (TSOs) from 22 European countries have thus taken another significant step towards an integrated power market. The new platform promotes the development of liquid and competitive forward markets all across Europe in a coordinated manner. It provides market participants with the opportunity to hedge against the risks of cross-border trading. The participating TSOs ensure non-discriminatory access for all market participants to long-term cross-zonal capacity at all relevant borders.

With XBID and the Single Allocation Platform, the European power market integration progresses substantially

Linkup
> See Amprion press release (html)
> See TenneT press release, (html)
> See TransnetBW press release (html)
> See TransnetBW news release on allocation platform (html)

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Households supersede power plants

05.12.2018

It is widely known that the closure of conventional power plants in the course of the energy transition and the resulting decrease in operating reserve pose demanding challenges to transmission system operators (TSOs). They now have to compensate for this lost reserve to ensure stability of the transmission grid and secure the customer supply. In its search for new approaches, TSCNET shareholder TenneT, the Dutch-German TSO, has been cooperating for quite some time with the sonnen GmbH, a company specialising in home energy storage systems. Now a breakthrough has been announced: For the first time, sonnen provides operating reserves throughout Germany with its networked home storage systems.

This means that the currently largest virtual battery, which can compensate for grid fluctuations, goes into operation. This battery works in a unique way: It consists of thousands of individual electricity storage units, which are used for the own energy consumption of their respective households. If there are deviations in the power grid, these batteries automatically arrange themselves into a virtual large battery by means of artificial intelligence. Households are thus capable of performing the same compensation functions as conventional power plants and short-term deviations in the grid can be compensated very quickly. For this reason, sonnen, together with its technology partner tiko Energy Solutions, has been prequalified by TenneT to provide primary control reserve.

The prequalification of the virtual battery system for the primary control power market is subject to the strictest technical and safety requirements. Lex Hartman, Managing Director of TenneT, comments on the innovative technology: “That networked battery storages as virtual power plants are now able to stabilise the grid in the event of frequency deviations, is a further step on the road to increased system integration of renewable energies.”

TenneT has prequalified a virtual battery system consisting of individual storage units for the provision of operating reserve (picture: TenneT)

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> See TenneT press release, in German (html)
> Watch sonnen demonstration video, in German (YouTube)

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Upcoming change in the 50Hertz management

05.12.2018

Since 2010, Boris Schucht has been CEO of TSCNET shareholder 50Hertz, one of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs). Before his engagement with 50Hertz, Schucht has already held senior management positions for companies from the energy sector such as Vattenfall Europe Venture GmbH or WEMAG AG. After nine successful years at the helm of 50Hertz, the CEO of the north-eastern German TSO now wants to face new professional challenges.

Boris Schucht and the 50Hertz Supervisory Board as well as the shareholders Elia and KfW (Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau) on 4 December consensually agreed that the current CEO will manage 50Hertz up until 28 February 2019. Mr Schucht commented on the recent company evolution: “For 50Hertz, a new era begins after the share transfers this year. After nine very exciting and extremely successful years with a really great team, this is the right time for me to pass on the baton.” Chris Peeters, Chairman of the Supervisory Board, expressed his sincere thanks for Boris Schucht’s “dedicated contribution to the company’s success story”.

Boris Schucht will resign as CEO of 50Hertz (picture: 50Hertz / Jan Pauls)

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> See 50Hertz press release (html)

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ACER consultation on Core Capacity Calculation methodology

04.12.2018

Complex issues require precise phrasing. Therefore the new public consultation of the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) is called: “Public Consultation on the amendments of the proposal for common capacity calculation methodology for the Core region”. The consultation has opened on 4 December and will be accessible until midnight on Christmas Eve. Invited to participate are all interested stakeholders, including regulatory authorities, nominated electricity market operators (NEMOs) and transmission system operators (TSOs).

What exactly is the objective of the survey? The Capacity Calculation Methodology (CCM) quantifies the electrical capacity that can be offered across borders to the day-ahead and intraday markets. The Core CCM is valid within the Core Capacity Calculation Region (CCR), which comprises Austria, Belgium, Croatia, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. The TSOs from the Core CCR – among them are the twelve TSCNET shareholders 50Hertz, Amprion, APG, ČEPS, ELES, HOPS, MAVIR, PSE, SEPS, TenneT, Transelectrica and TransnetBW – have conceived and proposed amendments to the Core CCM.

The competent regulatory authorities of the Core CCR have not yet approved the TSO proposal and asked ACER to decide on whether the modified Core CCM complies with the European Capacity Allocation and Congestion Management (CACM) Regulation. Interested parties are invited to provide feedback on the consultation questions concerning the relevant aspects of the Core CCM.

ACER launches public consultation on the compliance of the Core CCM proposed by the Core TSOs with the European CACM Regulation

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> See ACER press release (html)
> Direct access to consultation (html)

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SIREN project successfully concluded

03.12.2018

After a term of three years, the Croatian research project “Smart Integration of RENewables” (in short: SIREN) has been brought to a satisfactory completion by the project partners, one of whom is TSCNET shareholder HOPS, the transmission system operator (TSO) from Croatia. Together with the Croatian Science Foundation, HOPS was also the funder of the scientific research on the optimisation of current and the development of new system management strategies for the large-scale integration of volatile electricity capacities from renewable sources.

An assessment of the capacity of the transmission grid and the production units was carried out in order to determine flexibility requirements. As second part of the project, the potentials of energy storage units in the transmission system – e.g. pumped-storage power plants, battery systems or flywheels – were evaluated. Finally, also regulatory aspects of the large-scale integration of storage solutions were subject of the research.

Notwithstanding the successful and timely development of solution models and implementation propositions, HOPS will by no means cease its activities in this future-oriented sector. The H2020 project within the CROSSBOW project (“CROSS BOrder management of variable renewable energies and storage units enabling a transnational Wholesale market”), in which HOPS is actively involved, is a kind of continuation of SIREN. The multi-partner project CROSSBOW with a focus on Southeast Europe was launched in November 2018 in the Bulgarian capital of Sofia, with HOPS presiding over one subproject and one working package.

The SIREN project on the integration of the renewables and grid optimisation has been successfully completed

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> See HOPS press release, in Croatian (html)
> Visit SIREN website (html)

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Welcome, Daniela! HR all without island status

02.12.2018

Sardinia is famous for its white sandy beaches, a wild, dreamlike nature, idyllic mountain villages and cultural treasures from around eight millennia. But the inhabitants of the second largest island in the Mediterranean after Sicily are also known for their scepticism towards strangers – “whoever crosses the sea is a thief”, is a famous saying. But this does not at all apply to Daniela Sanna, a native of Sardinia. The new HR & Development Manager in the Corporate Services unit is on the contrary decidedly cosmopolitan and enjoys traveling.

The now 37-year-old has a Master’s degree in Communication Systems in International Relations from the University for Foreigners in Perugia (Università per Stranieri di Perugia) on the Italian mainland and has been to Poland and even to faraway Japan during her studies thanks to scholarships. Now she has spent several years working in recruitment, first in Italy, then in Germany. She has worked for such well-known companies as Intel, Texas Instruments, Airbus and Huawei. Also at TSCNET, she will focus on employee recruitment including on- and offboarding. Although the energy sector is new for her, there is a cross connection as well: Her father worked for Italy’s largest energy supplier.

Obviously, another Sardinian proverb seems to fit better in Daniela’s case: “When the wind comes, you should use it”. What is meant is that one should take an opportunity that comes up. We are pleased that the winds in the Tyrrhenian Sea led her to Munich and that she has seized the chance with us.

Daniela Sanna has started as a new HR & Development Manager in the Corporate Services unit

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Satellite technology for grid optimisation

30.11.2018

Power lines run above and below the ground or also under the sea – hence, the business of the European transmission and distribution system operators (TSOs and DSOs) tends to be ground-based. Sometimes, however, a glimpse into the sky might inspire us to find new approaches to make the European power system even more efficient and reliable in the future.

This is perhaps how representatives of the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) and the European Distribution System Operators Association (EDSO) have come to the question of how satellite applications can support the European power grid and its evolution. Anyway, together with the European Space Agency (ESA) the two operator organisations have entered on 29 November into a cooperation on the deployment of satellite technology for grid optimisation.

The cooperation will be implemented through ESA’s Business Applications programme, designed to support the development of new services using data from space assets. Satellite applications can support power grids in many areas, e.g. facilities management, two-way communication between smart meters and operators, prediction of consumption or generation peaks, development of Internet-of-Things related services, or the use of virtual power plants.

Nick Appleyard, Head of ESA’s Business Applications Department, highlights the potential of satellite communication for the allocation of renewable energy generation volumes and grid balancing. Laurent Schmitt, Secretary General of ENTSO-E, agrees and sees “opportunities to enhance real-time grid management through using available space technologies”. Mr Schmitt concludes: “This cooperation will identify business cases where both sectors can support each other and deliver benefits for the European consumer.”

ENTSO-E, EDSO and ESA enter into cooperation on the deployment of satellite technology for grid optimisation (picture: ESA)

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> See ENTSO-E press release (html)

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Winter 2018/19: supply largely secured – monitoring required

28.11.2018

Where are congestions most likely to occur? What are the most important risks to the stability of the pan-European electrical transmission system and supply security in the upcoming winter? As every year, the Winter Outlook 2018/2019 – the supply security forecast of the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) – tries to answer these and other significant questions as validly as possible in order to provide a reliable risk assessment for the next European electricity winter.

Good news first: The risks to the security of supply in the approaching cold season are moderate and supply is secured under normal conditions. Nevertheless, close monitoring is required in the event of cold spells. ENTSO-E pays particular attention to an area including Belgium, France, northern Italy, central northern Italy and Slovenia, which is partly due to unforeseen and delayed maintenance of production units in Belgium. In particular in January and February, monitoring will be necessary in the event of outages in connection with low wind and solar energy generation.

The Winter Outlook considers a number of factors that are relevant to safety analysis, such as hydro reservoirs, gas supply and changes in generation. This year’s edition reveals that the decline in conventional generation is persisting, while the increase in installed renewable generation capacity is higher than last winter. As usual, ENTSO-E presents the Winter Outlook together with an overview of the events of previous summer, that was characterised by far above-average temperatures, especially in northern and eastern Europe. This led to some local electricity supply disruptions in the Czech Republic, Croatia and Greece.

ENTSO-E has released the Winter Outlook 2018/2019, a consistent analysis of EU-wide risks to supply security

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> See ENTSO-E press release (html)
> Open Winter Outlook 2018/2019 (pdf, 5.23MB)

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Amprion upgrades historic line

26.11.2018

The power line from Reutlingen-Rommelsbach to Herbertingen in the German state of Baden-Württemberg crosses the southwestern ridge of the Swabian Alb on a length of 61km. Dating back to the 1920s, the overhead line operated by Amprion, one of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs), is an innovative pioneering achievement in the German transmission grid. Already in the Weimar Republic (the German state from 1918 to 1933), it was used to balance electricity between generation and consumption by connecting the Rhenish mining area with water storage facilities in the Alps.

Now it no longer meets the requirements of the energy present and future. TSCNET shareholder Amprion is therefore dismantling the old line and replacing it with new pylons and conductor ropes. Instead of the current 380 and 220kV circuits, the line will in future be equipped with two 380kV circuits. It will then enable an improved exchange of electrical energy between the wind power generation sites in the north, consumers in the residential and industrial areas, and pumped storage plants in the Alps. The line will thus strengthen regional supply as well as supra-regional transmission and is an important component of the energy transition.

A symbolic cut of the spade on 23 November in Zwiefalten-Sonderbuch on the Swabian Alb marked the official opening of Amprion’s currently largest construction site. Over the next two years, 221 old pylons will be dismantled and 181 new ones will be built. The key figures of the construction project are impressive: The TSO is investing a total of around €85m, and over 11,000 tonnes of steel, thousands of tonnes of concrete foundation and around 1500km of aluminium conductor rope will be used along the route. Due to the significance of the Reutlingen-Herbertingen line for industrial history, four old masts will be preserved as industrial monuments.

Amprion is completely rebuilding the historic Reutlingen-Herbertingen overhead line and improving it for the energy future (picture: Amprion, exemplary picture of line installation work)

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> See Amprion press release, in German (html)

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