50Hertz to improve grid utilisation

29.08.2019

To respond to current and future transmission system requirements, operators can either expand the grid or optimise its utilisation – ideally, they do both. TSCNET shareholder 50Hertz, one of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs), is also facing up to the challenges arising from the higher capacity load on the existing grid. The TSO presented its innovative assets and concepts at the System Security Conference (“Systemsicherheitskonferenz”), which is held every two years by 50Hertz.

This year’s conference on 28 August, the 11th edition, attracted almost 150 participants from the energy industry, science, politics and administration to the Berlin headquarters of 50Hertz, where they were welcomed by 50Hertz CEO Dr. Frank Golletz, who also plays the role of the company’s CTO. Golletz explained how the TSO tackles the technical challenges using previously uncommon technologies such as static compensators (STATCOM), series compensations, back-to-back converters or static and rotary phase shifters. “With these assets, our grid becomes a highly dynamic grid in which the power flow is actively controlled,” commented Golletz.

In addition, Golletz argued that, alongside to the indispensable technical innovations, the rules on the energy market should also be continuously further developed. It is important to set the right incentives for all market participants so that the electricity market not only functions from a business point of view, but also keeps an eye on the entire economy.

50Hertz has held its 11th System Security Conference in Berlin, Germany (picture of headquarters: 50Hertz)

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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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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)

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

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High growth in renewables in the 50Hertz area

17.07.2019

The generation of power from wind and sun is increasing steadily and strongly in the control area of TSCNET shareholder 50Hertz, the north-eastern German transmission system operator (TSO). 21.6TWh of wind power were generated in the first half of 2019, compared with only 16.6TWh in the corresponding period of the previous year. In the same time, photovoltaic generation amounted to 6TWh, which is an increase of almost 170GWh. This corresponds with the rise in the installed capacity of onshore and offshore wind turbines, which totalled 19.6GW in mid-2019 (mid-2018: 18.9GW) and the installed capacity of photovoltaic systems, which reached 11.1GW (mid-2018: 10.6GW).

Despite this capacity increase and the incrementing feed-in of electricity into the grid, 50Hertz was able to maintain stable costs for congestion management, such as interventions in the operation of conventional power plants and the temporary shutdown of renewable energy facilities. In the first half of 2019, redispatch costs amounted to around €13m and the costs for feed-in management to around €48m.

This increase in renewable generation and installed capacity from renewable facilities shows that northern and eastern Germany make an indispensable contribution to achieving the German government’s target of a 65% share of renewable energies in nationwide electricity consumption by 2030. However, from the TSO perspective of 50Hertz, the necessary grid extension must be pushed ahead in parallel to be able to transmit the green electricity to the consumption centres in the south and to keep congestion management costs under control.

The generation of electricity from renewable sources is increasing in the control area of 50Hertz (picture showing the transformer platform of the Baltic Sea wind farm Arkona: 50Hertz)

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

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New FCR market design

04.07.2019

The collaboration of central European transmission system operators (TSOs) in the procurement and exchange of Frequency Containment Reserve (FCR) is the first regional cooperation in Europe to implement market harmonisation in compliance with the EU Guideline on Electricity Balancing (EBGL). The TSOs that make up the FCR consortium are: the Austrian, German and Swiss TSCNET shareholders APG, 50Hertz, Amprion, TransnetBW, and Swissgrid, the Dutch-German shareholder TenneT as well as the Belgian TSO Elia and the French TSO RTE, which are supplemented by further TSCNET shareholder Energinet from Denmark as non-active member.

The FCR cooperation was founded in the summer of 2016 and has conducted two consultation rounds in the last two years, resulting in a final proposal, which was approved by all national regulators involved. The first milestone in the advancement of the largest FCR market in Europe has now been reached in the implementation of a new FCR market design. In addition to shortening the product length from a week to a day, the cooperation introduces a marginal pricing system. The aim is to reduce procurement costs and create incentives for new balancing power providers and technologies to enter the market.

The FCR cooperation introduces a new market design

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TSO offshore connections are most cost-effective

26.06.2019

In most European countries with offshore wind farms, the respective transmission system operators (TSOs) are responsible for connecting these offshore facilities to the onshore grid, which they also operate. The TSCNET shareholders affected by this arrangement include the north-eastern German TSO 50Hertz, the Danish TSO Energinet and the Dutch-German TSO TenneT. But obviously this handling is not the only one possible. In the UK, for instance, the developer of the particular offshore wind farm is also responsible for its grid connection.

In concrete terms, this means that in the UK the offshore grid connection after its completion is sold to commercial investors and a so-called OFTO (Offshore Transport Owner) is established. But which model, the TSO model or the OFTO model, causes the lowest costs for consumers and thus for society?

The internationally accredited registrar and the world’s largest classification society, DNV GL, has investigated this question in more detail. The main outcomes of this study are that in the OFTO system the costs for the development of offshore connections are significantly higher than in Denmark and the Netherlands. In contrast, the Levelised Cost of Energy (LCOE) of the Dutch and Danish offshore connections is significantly lower. The LCOE assesses the average total cost of constructing and operating an energy generating asset over its lifetime divided by its total energy output over that lifetime.

DNV GL has documented lower costs for the TSO connection of offshore wind farms than for the OFTO solution (illustration of Borssele Alpha: TenneT)

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> Open DNV-GL report (pdf, 453.83kb)

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Stefan Kapferer appointed new 50Hertz CEO

26.06.2019

At its meeting on 25 June, the Supervisory Board of TSCNET shareholder 50Hertz, one of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs), appointed Stefan Kapferer as the company’s new CEO. Kapferer is currently chairman of the executive board and member of the presidium of the German Energy and Water Association (Bundesverband der Energie- und Wasserwirtschaft – BDEW). He will take up his duties at 50Hertz on 1 January 2020 at the latest.

Stefan Kapferer has sound institutional and economic experience. Among other positions, he was State Secretary in Lower Saxony, State Secretary of the German Federal Ministry of Health and the Federal Ministry of Economics and chairman of the supervisory board of the German Energy Agency. From 2014 to 2016, Mr Kapferer was Deputy Secretary General of the OECD in Paris before joining BDEW in 2016.

Chris Peeters, chairperson of the 50Hertz supervisory board, emphasises Kapferer’s “deep understanding of the political and social evolutionary trends in Germany – exactly the right mix for a 50Hertz CEO: after all, as system operators we provide services to society”. Mr Kapferer himself comments on his new area of responsibility: “I am very eager to face the exciting challenge of contributing to the practical implementation of the energy transition at 50Hertz.”

Stefan Kapferer (here right next to Elia Group CEO Chris Peeters) is appointed as the new CEO of 50Hertz (picture: 50Hertz / Jan Pauls)

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Connect+ for data exchange

14.06.2019

The four German transmission system operators (TSOs), the TSCNET shareholders 50Hertz, Amprion, TenneT, and TransnetBW, together with 16 distribution system operators (DSOs) have launched the “Connect+” project to jointly implement the legal requirements of the German Grid Expansion Acceleration Act (Netzausbaubeschleunigungsgesetz – NABEG). The project is a reaction to the increased need for coordination due to the current legislative amendments and intended to facilitate a more transparent exchange of data between grid operators and market participants.

German legislation has specified that, in future, all facilities for the generation or storage of electrical energy with a nominal capacity of 100kW or more must be utilised to prevent foreseeable bottlenecks in the grid. The modified conditions for redispatch apply from 1 October 2021. As the present feed-in management of the grid operators only reacts to acute congestions, an even more intensive cooperation between TSOs and DSOs is required in the future.

The new processes to be developed and introduced within the time frame pose a challenge for all grid operators. In the “Connect+” project, TSOs and DSOs want to develop uniform solutions for data distribution to harmonise data exchange between market participants and operators for congestion management. In a first step, essential specifications such as interfaces and formats are developed and defined.

The four German TSOs and 16 DSOs launch the data exchange project “Connect+” for congestion management

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> See Amprion press release, in German (html)
> See TenneT press release, in German (html)
> See TransnetBW press release, in German (html)

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Second go-live wave of XBID

13.06.2019

The successful go-live of XBID, the European cross-border Single Intraday Coupling (SIDC) solution, on 12/13 June 2018 was a significant step towards a single integrated continent-wide intraday market. Such an integrated market increases the overall efficiency of intraday trade through effective competition, increased liquidity and more efficient utilisation of generation resources across Europe. Today the first anniversary of XBID is celebrated and over 16 million trades have been executed since its launch.

The SIDC partners look back on a successful first year of operation with a stable and robust system performance as well as a high and growing number of trades across Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden. The integration of seven additional countries into the SIDC region is expected in the fourth quarter of 2019. A pre-launch event for the second wave is planned for the beginning of October 2019 and a trial period will also be arranged with the market parties. The countries for this second go-live wave are Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Slovenia.

The TSOs already cooperating in XBID include the TSCNET shareholders 50Hertz, Amprion, APG, TenneT, and TransnetBW as well as the TSCNET client Creos from Luxembourg. Further shareholders are to follow with the second wave, namely ČEPS, ELES, HOPS, MAVIR, PSE, and Transelectrica.

XBID, the SIDC solution for a single integrated European intraday market, celebrates its first anniversary

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> See ENTSO-E press release (html)

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50Hertz yearbook shows top score in renewables

07.06.2019

In its Yearbook 2018, the TSCNET shareholder 50Hertz has compiled on 105 informative and concise pages everything worth knowing about last year’s key figures, activities, infrastructure developments, market assessments, sustainability objectives and much more. For the current report, the transmission system operator (TSO) from North-East Germany has chosen a heading that fits the company’s philosophy: “Setting the pace for a successful energy transition”.

An outstanding yearbook figure is the regenerative share of 56.5% with which 50Hertz has confirmed its pioneering role in the integration of renewable energies in Central Europe. A share of 65% by 2030, the official government target in Germany, is thus already within reach. For its low-carbon future goals, the TSO relies on innovative concepts such as the flexibility platform of the WindNODE project, a digital procurement system designed to reduce the throttling of wind turbines in the event of grid bottlenecks.

Sustainable action and social commitment are entrepreneurial principles for 50Hertz. To provide information on this, the Yearbook also contains a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) report. The CSR Report complies with the strict sustainability reporting standards of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and is supplemented by the launch of the company’s own sustainability website.

50Hertz presents its Yearbook 2018 and launches CSR website (picture showing 50Hertz employees working at the Arkona offshore transformer station: 50Hertz / Jan Pauls)

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> See 50Hertz press release (html)
> Download 50Hertz Yearbook 2018, in German (pdf, 9.08MB)
> Visit the 50Hertz CSR website, in German (html)

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