New Local Implementation Project under SIDC

09.07.2020

European transmission system operators (TSOs) are committed to the European Energy Union by collectively working towards an integrated European electricity market. A key component for market integration is cross-border Single Intraday Coupling (SIDC), which was introduced as XBID in June 2018. SIDC is designed to increase the overall efficiency of intraday trading through effective competition, increased liquidity, and more efficient use of generation resources. Currently, the markets of 22 countries are coupled through SIDC: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden. With the inclusion of the Slovakian Nominated Electricity Market Operator (NEMO) OKTE and TSCNET shareholder SEPS, the TSO from Bratislava, the project also extends to Slovakia.

Within the framework structure of the SIDC, Local Implementation Projects (LIPs) provide for the expansion of the market coupling, and a new project has now been established as LIP 17. The NEMOs and TSOs from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia – the TSCNET shareholders ČEPS, MAVIR, PSE, and SEPS – have proposed to implement SIDC across the borders between Slovakia-Czechia, Slovakia-Hungary, and Slovakia-Poland. The SIDC Steering Committee approved on 7 July and the LIP 17 roadmap will now be elaborated in more detail.

The SIDC solution comprises a common IT system with a shared order book, a capacity management module, and a shipping module. In addition to the TSOs mentioned above, the TSCNET shareholders 50Hertz, Amprion, APG, ELES, HOPS, TenneT, Transelectrica, and TransnetBW as well as the TSCNET customers Creos from Luxembourg and Energinet from Denmark are also part of SIDC.

A new LIP for the introduction of intraday trading across the borders of Czechia, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia has been established under SIDC

Linkup
> See MAVIR press release (html)
> See PSE press release (html)
> See SEPS press release (html)

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50Hertz aims for 100% renewables by 2032

03.07.2020

50 Hertz, the transmission system operator (TSO) from the north-east of Germany, has launched a climate and economic policy initiative for its control area, which consists of the federal states in eastern Germany and the city states of Berlin and Hamburg. The concrete goal is to cover 100% of the electricity demand in the 50Hertz grid area with renewable energies by the year 2032 and the secure integration of green electricity into the transmission system. As the annual average share of renewables in 2019 was around 60%, the initiative is entitled: “From 60 to 100 by 2032: for an economy with prospects”.

The “100 by 32” initiative corresponds to and exceeds the objectives of the EU Commission’s “Green Deal”, according to which Europe should become the first climate-neutral continent by 2050. The TSCNET shareholder will focus the entire corporate strategy on the new ambitious target and – in compliance with the legal requirements for safe and reliable grid operation – will mobilise its extensive expertise. Since, according to 50Hertz CEO Stefan Kapferer, further considerable efforts are necessary not only in the own company but also in politics, economy, and society, the TSO offers to support the German federal and state governments in developing suitable areas and potential for wind and solar energy, off- and onshore

Kapferer comments further on the strategy: “The transformation of our electric power supply has entered a new phase. Today’s parallel existence of a conventional fossil generation system and an energy system based on renewable sources is coming to an end. Wind and solar energy must be able to provide ancillary services in the future. We are determined to drive this transition forward, but now with new and full speed.”

50Hertz launches the corporate initiative “From 60 to 100 by 2032” for a complete coverage of electricity demand with renewable energies (picture: 50Hertz)

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> See 50Hertz press release (html)

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Successful start of FCR auctions

01.07.2020

The cooperation on regional procurement and exchange of frequency containment reserve (FCR) is a voluntary initiative of eight transmission system operators (TSOs): the six TSCNET shareholders 50Hertz, Amprion, and TransnetBW from Germany, APG from Austria, Swissgrid from Switzerland, and the Dutch-German TSO TenneT, as well as Elia from Belgium and the French TSO RTE. The FCR project is the first regional cooperation for a common market based on the methodology for the exchange of control reserves set out in the EU Guideline on Electricity Balancing. Within the scope of a cooperation model with Amprion, the Luxembourg TSCNET customer Creos is also involved.

The next milestone in the development of the largest European market for primary balancing power reserve has now been reached, as the first D-1 auction for FCR with 4-hour products was successfully conducted on 30 June 2020. This means, the FCR cooperation reduces the product length from one day to four hours and thus the market for primary balancing power is brought closer to real time.

Due to stronger competition between service providers and technologies, the joint auction allows TSOs to procure FCRs at minimum cost to end-users while offering a large common market for all providers of balancing services. It also increases the market attractiveness for short-term flexibility, limits price volatility and improves the security of grid operation by executing cross zonal procurement of FCR. The FCR market, already the largest in Europe, will be extended to western Denmark and Slovenia in the first quarter of 2021, so that with Energinet and ELES two further TSCNET shareholders will broaden the project.

The FCR cooperation successfully conducted the first D-1 auction for FCR with 4-hour products 

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> See Swissgrid news release (html)

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Contracts for 525kV SuedLink cables

29.06.2020

SuedLink is evolving in major steps this year. The DC line – realised jointly by the two TSCNET shareholders TenneT, the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO), and TransnetBW, the TSO from southwest Germany – is the largest and probably most important single project of the energy transition in Germany. With around 700 kilometres of underground cable to be laid and an investment of around €10bn, SuedLink will connect the windy regions of northern Germany with the centres of consumption in the industrially highly developed south and west. In February 2020, the Federal Network Agency (Bundesnetzagentur) initiated the plan approval procedure for the first SuedLink sections, in May the orders for the regional planning offices were placed and now TenneT and TransnetBW have awarded the contracts for the plastic-insulated 525kV underground cables – in parallel with the ongoing approval procedures.

NKT and Prysmian PowerLink have eventually been selected as providers for the SuedLink cables, with a total order value of approximately €2bn. The contract comprises design, manufacture, supply, laying of the underground cables, further installation work, and the final high-voltage testing of the cable system. Both companies have demonstrated their expertise in numerous international connection projects on and offshore, and both have proven the quality of their cables in extensive prequalification tests with several cable manufacturers in a multi-year test phase. They were also commissioned for the German affiliate project, SuedostLink, by the two TSOs 50Hertz and TenneT.

TenneT and TransnetBW chose plastic-insulated underground DC cables with a voltage level of 525kV because they transmit more power compared to a 320kV solution and only require half as many cables. Less transmission loss and less civil engineering work translate into both, financial benefits for the TSOs and minimal environmental impact. TenneT Managing Director Tim Meyerjürgens comments: “In the future, SuedLink will form the backbone of the energy transition in Germany. With the commissioning of the DC ground cables, we are now moving from the planning stage to the realisation of this important power link.” Dr. Werner Götz, Chairman of the TransnetBW Executive Board, adds: “We are very happy to be able to apply this innovative and environmentally benign technology for SuedLink.”

TenneT and TransnetBW awarded the contracts for the 525kV DC underground cables for the SuedLink power highway (picture: TenneT)

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

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Redispatch harmonisation in Germany

26.06.2020

Up until now, redispatch measures between the four German transmission system operators (TSOs) – 50Hertz, Amprion, TenneT, and TransnetBW – and the operators of power plants and storage facilities with a capacity of more than 10MW have been carried out on the basis of IT tools specific to the particular TSO control area. In order to align the individual procedures nationwide, the four TSCNET shareholders on 26 June successfully put the first component of their joint redispatch platform into operation, the “Redispatch Settlement Server” (“Redispatch-Abwicklungsserver” – RAS).

The German electricity market is increasingly characterised by volatile generation and RAS is an instrument to initiate redispatch measures both faster and more flexibly. With harmonised data formats and processes, the redispatch platform, of which the RAS is the first part, provides the basis for the integration of renewable energies into the existing redispatch processes, that is, for future-proof congestion management. In concrete terms, RAS allows TSO control centres to monitor and process all relevant power plant interventions. As a result, TSOs can coordinate their redispatch decisions and activities more efficiently. Moreover, the central management introduces frictionless settlement and transparency processes.

The second part of the redispatch platform is the “Redispatch Determination Server” (“Redispatch-Ermittlungsserver” – RES). RES will complement or replace existing forecasting tools for expectable grid situations such as imminent bottlenecks. It will identify those options for action that are compliant with the regulations and most cost-efficient. Based on RES calculations, TSOs can resolve both predicted and existing grid congestions more efficiently than today. RES is scheduled to go into operation in 2021.

The four German TSOs have succesfully launched RAS, a joint server for redispatch settlement

Linkup
> See 50Hertz press release (html)
> 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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50Hertz starts PtH cooperation in Hamburg

09.06.2020

In the control area of the north-east German transmission system operator (TSO) 50Hertz, the installed renewable energy capacity is particularly high. To avoid taking wind turbines off the grid in case of overcapacity, the TSCNET shareholder intends to efficiently use this green excess electricity. 50Hertz is already planning the construction of a Power-to-Heat (PtH) plant in the Baltic Sea port city of Rostock, and now another PTH cooperation in the Hanseatic City of Hamburg complements the cross-sector ambitions of the TSO.

This time the energy service provider GETEC is the partner of 50Hertz. Both companies intend to provide green district heating in the densely populated Mümmelmannsberg district of Hamburg. GETEC operates two combined heat and power (CHP) plants running on natural gas that supply around 7,000 residential and commercial units. In future, one of the two CHP units is to be regulated down if, during high wind conditions, more electricity is generated in northern Germany than can be transmitted to the south. This is where the PtH plant with an output of 5MW comes into play to convert the excess green electricity in an electrode boiler into emission-free district heating. The CHP and PtH units will be coordinated by smart control technology.

The investment costs amounting to €1.2m are fully covered by 50Hertz and the system is scheduled to be operational by the end of 2021. Dr Dirk Biermann, Chief Markets & System Operations Officer at 50Hertz, emphasises that the cooperation represents the first time for 50Hertz to support the construction of such a facility in a large city. The Hamburg PtH cooperation enables 50Hertz to “relieve a bottleneck in the extra-high voltage grid between Hamburg, Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein to some extent and contribute to the more efficient use of wind power from the northern Germany”.

50Hertz launches a PtH cooperation in Hamburg to use excess wind energy (picture: Jermaine Ee, Unsplash)

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> See 50Hertz press release (html)

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Luxembourg integrated into FCR cooperation

01.06.2020

Eight central European transmission system operators (TSOs) cooperate in the regional procurement and exchange of Frequency Containment Reserve (FCR). Their joint FCR project is the first regional cooperation in Europe to implement market harmonisation in accordance with the EU Guideline on Electricity Balancing. The participating TSOs are APG, 50Hertz, Amprion, TransnetBW, and Swissgrid – the Austrian, German and Swiss TSCNET shareholders –, the Dutch-German shareholder TenneT as well as the Belgian TSO Elia and the French TSO RTE. It is intended to extend the joint FCR procurement towards western Denmark, so that the central European TSOs are supplemented by Energinet from Denmark as a non-active member.

Luxembourg was missing in the cooperation so far, but cross-border primary control reserve (PCR) between Germany and Luxembourg is now also possible: Since 1 June 2020, balancing service providers (BSPs) from Luxembourg are participating in the joint tender for FCR cooperation. For this purpose, the TSO Amprion, whose German control area is bordering the Grand-Duchy, and the Luxembourgian TSCNET customer Creos have developed a cooperation model. Under this model, Amprion assumes the role of the connecting TSO, carries out the prequalification of the BSPs, concludes the framework agreement for PCR, and takes over the settlement with the BSPs from the Creos control area.

Since Amprion and Creos operate a joint load-frequency-control area, a pooling of technical units within this common area is permissible. Thus, a pool can include Luxembourgian as well as German units that provide balancing services. This means that a BSP may combine generation units or controllable consumer loads from both countries and offer them collectively on the PCR market.

The central European FCR cooperation was extended to Luxembourg (picture: Cedric Letsch)

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> See Amprion press release, in German (html)

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First section of new 50Hertz 380kV line in operation

13.05.2020

The 37-kilometre line section between the Stendal West and Wolmirstedt substations in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt is the southernmost stretch of an overhead line construction project, which runs for a total of over 200 kilometres from Güstrow in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania to Wolmirstedt. With this 380kV line construction, TSCNET shareholder 50Hertz, the transmission system operator (TSO) from north-east of Germany, is successively replacing a 220kV line dating from the 50s of the last century. On 12 May, 50Hertz commissioned the Stendal West-Wolmirstedt section, whose construction costs amounted to around €40m.

In May 2019, the TSO had started erecting the 87 Pylons of this first stretch of the new transmission line, which could be installed along the entire length of the section parallel to an existing 380kv line. This continuous line bundling follows the 50Hertz planning principle of using existing infrastructure wherever possible. After the conclusion of the approval procedures, construction, and commissioning of all six sections towards Güstrow, 50Hertz will completely dismantle the old 220kV line Güstrow-Wolmirstedt.

The main objective of the 50 Hertz construction project is to improve the transmission capacity for wind power. Dr. Frank Golletz, CTO of 50Hertz, comments on the progress of the extra-high voltage line: “The increase in transmission capacity is necessary to enable us to better manage the high volume of wind energy in the northern regions of our control area and to integrate it securely into our grid. With the commissioning of this first construction phase, we have come a step closer to this target.”

50Hertz has commissioned the new 380kV overhead line between Stendal West and Wolmirstedt (picture: City of Stendal, Germany)

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

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50Hertz turns to green financing

08.05.2020

The grid connections Ostwind 1 and 2 to the offshore wind farms in the Baltic Sea northeast of the German island of Rügen belong to the infrastructure projects of 50Hertz, one of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs), which contribute to a sustainable European energy future. Ostwind 1 is already in operation and connects the wind farms “Wikinger” and “Arkona” via two offshore platforms with the Lubmin substation in the Bay of Greifswald. The Ostwind 2 project will connect the nearby wind farms “Arcadis Ost 1” and “Baltic Eagle” to the German extra-high voltage grid. The future transmission capacity of both connections is approximately 1.5GW.

To financially secure these forward-looking projects, the TSCNET shareholder is now active on the green investment market as corporate issuer of Green Debt: On 6 May 2020, Eurogrid GmbH, the parent company of 50Hertz, has issued its first Green Bond in the amount of €750m on the regulated market, thus securing the liquidity for the two offshore projects and further grid expansion necessary for the energy transition.

Marco Nix, CFO of 50Hertz, comments on the bond issue: “With the first Green Bond in our company’s history, we are securing part of the necessary investments in the grid infrastructure over the next few years.” Especially in view of the current difficult economic circumstances, the great interest of the financial markets in the bonds was proof of the confidence in the TSO’s sustainability strategy and investment plans. “The transaction is an important cornerstone in driving forward the expansion of our grid and thus the energy transition,” adds Marco Nix.

50Hertz has successfully issued its first Green Bond in the amount of €750m (picture: 50Hertz)

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> See 50Hertz press release (html)

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525kV cables for SuedOstLink

05.05.2020

The SuedOstLink is one of the major German DC interconnection projects that are essential to Germany’s low-carbon energy future by transporting green electricity generated in the north and east of the country – mainly wind power – to the centres of consumption in the south and west. Like the other so-called “Stromautobahnen” (power highways), SuedOstLink is primarily implemented via underground cabling. Its realisation is a joint effort of the two TSCNET shareholders 50Hertz, the transmission system operator (TSO) from northeast Germany, and TenneT, the Dutch-German TSO.

The European Project of Common Interest (PCI) now has reached an important landmark with the award of the contract for around 1000 kilometres of underground cables, the definitive centrepiece of SuedOstLink. The technology to be used for this is a global novelty: plastic-insulated underground cables for a voltage of 525kV. With these cables, the SuedOstLink connection will have a transmission capacity of 2GW. The higher capacity requires fewer cables to transmit the same power. The routing can therefore be designed narrower and the necessary civil engineering work is decreased. This significantly reduces the impact on the public and the environment.

The contracts were assigned to NKT for the northern part of the project in the 50Hertz control area and to Prysmian PowerLink for the section under TenneT’s responsibility. Both companies are internationally represented in numerous connection projects on- and offshore and both have proven the quality of their cables in extensive prequalification tests. The contracts include design, manufacture, delivery, laying of the underground cables, further installation work and the final high-voltage testing of the cable system. SuedOstLink is currently in the planning approval process. It should be completed by the end of 2025.

Dr Frank Golletz, Technical Director at 50Hertz, expects the cables to be laid from 2022 and describes the contract award as “a good signal for the SuedOstLink joint venture project as well as for the energy transition across Germany and Europe”. Tim Meyerjürgens, Managing Director of TenneT, adds: “We will use the innovative, plastic-insulated 525kV underground cables for the first time worldwide and will thus set new standards in technology and the reduction of environmental impact.”

50Hertz and TenneT have assigned the orders for the 525kV underground cables for SuedOstLink (picture: NKT)

Linkup
> See 50Hertz press release (html)
> See TenneT press release (html)

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